Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Iraqi Macaroons

The seder meal is rarely terribly innovative at my house, especially when I am serving to my older relatives. We start with gefilte fish and matzo ball soup and then move on to some kind of vegetarian main dish alongside brisket or chicken, allowing me and the kids who are concerned about such things to keep vegetarian while the meat eaters are satisfied, too. There's asparagus, tzimmes, and fruit salad as well along with charoset and horseradish.

Even dessert is pretty standard. Unless the holiday falls super early in the year and edible berries have yet to arrive on our supermarket shelves, I make a flourless sponge cake rolled around whipped cream and strawberries which, I'm sorry to say, does not photograph well. This year's berries were not so good, especially after the exuberantly fragrant ones we ate last month in San Jose, but liberal additions of sugar and vanilla brought them to life. Plus, when surrounded by clouds of whipped cream, what's not to like?

It was feeling a bit too formulaic for me this year and I started looking around for something to spice things up. While re-reading the Passover chapter in Nigella Lawson's Feast, I came across her recipe for Iraqi Macaroons which looked more or less like the standard homemade variety with the addition of freshly ground cardamom and rosewater. Freshly ground cardamom? I'm there!

Aren't they cute? So plump and nutty, and vaguely exotic. And they were the surprise hit of our seder. I thought they'd be politely declined (more for me!) but everyone requested a few in their take-home packages.

Do give these a try as they are quite delightful. Being quite sturdy I imagine they would likely travel well. Also, as I'm finding more and more folks eschewing wheat, I like having a few wheat free options for sharing. The recipe is here.

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