Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
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Coffee cake gets its day

Passover-approved baked goods are a new luxury

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Crumb cake muffins are served for Passover, which began Friday and ends Saturday.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
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“We are told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” writes Paula Shoyer in her newly published cookbook, The New Passover Menu.

But at Passover, when leavened products and a variety of common grains are forbidden to observant Jews, in remembrance of the Israelites’ hasty exodus from slavery in Egypt, that means eight days without favorite foods in the morning. The holiday began at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday.

“No toast, no bagels, no decent breakfast cereals, and no oatmeal add up to a grumpy family,” Ms. Shoyer writes.

And today is National Coffee Cake Day. Can’t have that either.

Or can you?

A graduate of the Ritz Escoffier pastry program in Paris, who teaches cooking and baking classes in the Washington area, Ms. Shoyer has turned Passover-approved baked goods into a new luxury. Previously, holiday desserts and treats had been notoriously dry and heavy, tolerated out of necessity but not really enjoyed.

Ms. Shoyer’s contemporary options are lighter and more flavorful, though, showcasing her training as a pastry chef while the recipes are still accessible for home cooks.

Matzah — which is eaten throughout Passover as a replacement for, or ingredient in, baked goods — is often referred to as the bread of affliction.

But these streusel-topped coffee cake-style muffins are so good that you wouldn't pass over them even once the holiday has ended.

 

RECIPE

Crumb Cake Muffins

If desired, you can use milk and butter in place of the nondairy milk and margarine. Gluten-free cake meal or potato starch can be substituted for the regular cake meal.

Batter:

4 large eggs, separated

1/​2 cup sugar

1/​2 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/​4 cup vanilla-flavored non-dairy milk

3/​4 cup cake meal

Dash of salt

Streusel:

1 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1/​2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/​2 cup pecan halves, chopped into 1/​3-inch pieces

1/​2 cup walnut halves, chopped into 1/​3-inch pieces

1 tablespoon cake meal

3 tablespoons margarine, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

To make the batter: Place the yolks, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and milk in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Add the cake meal and beat for 2 minutes more until mixed. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy. Add the salt, and then beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff. Use a silicone spatula to fold the whites into the batter in four parts, mixing at increasingly slower speeds after each addition until all the whites are incorporated.

To make the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix the cinnamon, brown sugar, pecans, walnuts, and cake meal. Add the margarine and use a fork or your fingers to work the mixture until it sticks together. When the mixture comes together, break it back into crumbs.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the crumbs on top, dividing them evenly among the muffins.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Yield: 12 muffins.

Source: Adapted from Paula Shoyer, The New Passover Menu.

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