Pesach aka Passover commemorates the Jewish departure from Egypt. The celebration lasts seven or eight days, and Is Passover 7 or 8 Days? does some explaining about the 7 v. 8 issue. Regardless, we don’t eat leavened products, or those food products that can rise, during this period. (Rabbi Thomas and Marcia Louchheim explain how the Ashkenazi, Sfardim, Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox parts of our people deal with these issues at Legumes and Rice on Passover.)
Anyway, so I spent today doing Pesach baking for the Seder we’re attending on Tuesday, and pizza to get the bread out of my system before I take a week off (from bread.) Seder means order, and for the non-Jews who follow me, the Seder was the Last Supper. In more modern times, at least in my experience, Seder also means pot luck, for I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Seder that was not a contributory dinner.
Dessert is and has been our thing for years. For Tuesday we have a flourless chocolate cake from The Splendid Table. The cake is the “go to” cake around here, year round, and now that the Louchheims tells me peanut butter works for Pesach, I follow the recipe to the letter. (The cake will get “prettied up” on Tuesday evening.)
We’ve also got a variant of Rabbi Tom Louchheim’s sugary, chocolate covered matzoh, made with whole wheat matzoh. Crunchy still, and I got a bit of graham cracker sense when I tasted, surely from the whole wheat and the brown sugar.
I also made some macaroons, with ground almonds and chocolate chips. More coming tomorrow night, with dried fruit and no nuts.
Finally, there are the packaged products. No Seder cannot include macaroons from a can, or chocolate-covered jellies.
Now, on to the pizza! As I’ve surely noted in the past, I’ve been making pizzas for almost 40 years. Yes, I do make my own dough. No on sauce, which is lots of work and less important, IMHO. And no, while I really, really want a wood burning pizza oven, I only have an $80 Baking Steel. Amazing product, by the way!!!
Alas, I did buy a gram scale recently. And I made a commitment to myself to start measuring and being more precise, mostly to see if it matters. IT DOES!
I made pizzas using a recipe from Roberta’s in Brooklyn, published in the New York Times last Tuesday as part of A Little Pizza Homework, and written by former NYT restaurant critic Sam Sifton. A Neapolitan-style dough, soft as a result of using 50% 00 flour.
I also made pizza using the Basic New York-style Pizza Dough, from an archival piece written by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, major guru at SeriousEats.com. The piece is titled Pizza Lab: Three Doughs to Know, and it’s a keeper. Basically, it’s bread flour, water, sugar, salt, yeast, and olive oil, and as I type I’m realizing I left out the olive oil.
So here are the four pies:
A little fifth pie was my dinner. Anchovies with a few sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella cheese; light and bursting with flavor, and … no picture! Sorry!!! (Last picture taken was the pesto, and after looking at it I decided to call it re: picture-taking.)
The work gang will get their usual Monday goodies, courtesy of Ms. J. This week, in addition, they’ll have cold pizza! I’m ready for a break from baking and bread. And, due to several commitments this week, I expect my only post will be the Wednesday Curator. Back at you soon!