Bristol Chef Lynch Shares Passover Dessert Favorites

Bristol East Executive Chef Bill Lynch shared two Passover recipes with Community, Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Torte with Salty Caramel, Chocolate-Covered Caramelized Matzoh Crunch.

“I adapted this recipe [the torte] from Julia Child’s chocolate almond cake which is just a little under baked for a fudge like center,” Lynch said. “I love the pairing of chocolate and pecans and what isn’t improved with a kiss of bourbon?
“This recipe calls for butter,” he continued, “but you’d be welcome to use kosher margarine in its place if you love brisket like I do. You can keep the butter and caramel out of the recipe and still have a marvelous dessert.
“It also calls for the finer matzo cake meal, if you can’t find it, or just want a gluten free dessert you’ll make an ultra-fudgy cake if you increase the pecan flour to 1-¼ cups and leave out the matzo meal.”

Bourbon Pecan Chocolate Torte with Salty Caramel
Chocolate Cake

  • 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon or coffee 
  • 3/4 cup kosher butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided 
  • 5 large eggs, separated 
  • Pinch of kosher salt 
  • 1/2 cup pecan flour/meal 
  • 2/3 cup cake meal or matzo meal

Salty Caramel

  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Kentucky bourbon
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Grease a 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.

Combine the chopped chocolate and bourbon in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat for one minute, stir to incorporate and make smooth. If there are still chunks heat for 30 seconds more and stir again. Set aside to cool.
With an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the 3 egg whites and salt on high speed until foamy. Slowly add the tablespoon of sugar and whip to stiff peaks.

In a separate bowl and beat the butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and creamy. Add the 3 egg yolks and beat until thick. Add the cooled melted chocolate. Stir in the pecan extract and pecan meal/flour and mix until just combined.
Add 1/3 of the whipped egg whites to the batter and fold gently until combined. Add and fold in the remaining whites in two additions, alternating with the sifted cake meal. Fold only until the streaks of egg whites disappear, do not over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until the edges are set, but the center still jiggles when the pan is bumped, about 25 minutes.
Let cool 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to remove cake from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the world’s easiest caramel, place the can of condensed milk in a large oven safe pot and cover completely with water by an inch or two. Place in a 350-degree oven for 2 ½ hours (I never said it was fast, just easy).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Open the cooled can and spoon into a bowl, whisk in the salt and bourbon. Drizzle over the cake.

Chocolate-Covered Caramelized Matzoh Crunch

“While macaroons remain my favorite Passover treat,” Lynch said, “this is a close second. I’ve seen this creep into Christmas cookie exchanges with saltines, so I think it is important to evangelize the true Matzo version so the goy know where it came from. Credit goes to David Lebovitz and Marcy Goldman for developing this one.”

Yield: Approximately 30 pieces of candy

  • 4-6 sheets unsalted matzohs 
  • 1 cup unsalted margarine, cut into chunks 
  • 1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar 
  • Big pinch of kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate) 
  • 1 cup toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17″, 28 x 42cm) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of Silpat or parchment paper. This is key, you will be scrubbing your pans till next Passover if you don’t.

Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.

In a 3-4 quart heavy saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof spatula. Again, silicon is your friend here.
Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it’s not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325 degrees, then replace the pan.

Remove from oven, immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.
If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs.

Let cool completely, then break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week, though my attempts to make it last that long in my kitchen have never worked. It tends to be eaten before then.

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