Baking for Passover is a lot like building a kitchen, that is, it can be difficult and scary if you deviate from the plan. The process requires some imagination and flexibility, and a little faith and hope can go a long way. My kitchen has been under renovation for months, so I rigged together a makeshift kitchen—like the one I had during my college days—to fulfill my assignments and responsibilities. When the recipes I needed to test extended beyond the realm of my rudimentary kitchen, a friend kindly let me use hers.
I labored over a Passover macaroon berry pie recipe for weeks, certain that if I got it just right, my kitchen would be ready in time for the seders. I funneled all my purposefulness into creating flawless Passover recipes, thinking that the sweet salvation of dessert was all I needed. I planned on a pie crust made out of macaroon crumbs and coconut oil, I got together all the ingredients, managed my time sensibly, and then plowed ahead. I eventually kinda-sorta got the crust how I wanted it, but the soupy texture of the cooked berries caused major crust-erosion. And then I couldn’t ignore the unavoidable truth: I really dislike those pop-top cans of macaroons (too sweet, often stale).
Meanwhile, the kitchen renovation was stalled to a standstill. No amount of angry threats, desperate entreaties or sweet bribes made a difference. I could not make it happen faster, or even at all. Nevertheless, I dug in, and kept pushing the macaroon berry pie recipe, trying to make it to work. And like the phone calls I made to the electrician and plumber, it was going nowhere fast.
The belabored Passover dessert remained a hot unappealing mess until I squeezed past my narrow expectations and allowed myself to let go of my pre-conceived notions of how it would turn out. I considered my favorite macaroon recipe: Dark, dense, moist, chocolatey, not too sweet, and best of all—tried and tested! I had a hunch that it would make a perfect bite-sized tart crust when baked in a muffin tray. And then maybe because I had potato starch on my mind, due to the runny berries, I thought: crushed potato chips! I discovered that when folded into the chewy, bittersweet chocolate coconut shreds, they added a salty pop and a pleasing crunch to the macaroon shell.
Next I combined two cups of berries on a stovetop with sugar, lemon, and a pinch of potato starch, and cooked the mixture to a rich, jeweled-toned sauce. Spooned thickly over the macaroon mini-tart shell, it makes for a silky, crispy, juicy, chocolatey dessert! Easy to prepare in separate steps, these Mini Macaroon Berry Tarts can be assembled right before serving, and taste best when served at room temperature. Top them with fresh berries, chocolate shavings, crushed potato chips, extra chopped macaroons, peaks of whipped cream, or drizzles of chocolate sauce—whatever you like. These sweet little treats celebrate the festival of freedom with flexible flavor and an adaptable recipe.
p.s. Kitchen’s still not done, but is it really so bad? A raw-food seder actually sounds authentic, memorable, and quite liberating!
Passover Mini Macaroon Berry Tarts (Pareve/Dairy free)
Yields 12-15 tarts
½ cup pareve chocolate chips or 2 oz. chopped chocolate
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder,
2 egg whites
¼-1/2 cup crushed ridged potato chips
Very Berry Filling:
1 cup of fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon potato starch
1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium-sized bowl melt chocolate, let cool and set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine shredded coconut, sugar, salt, cocoa powder.
3. Whisk egg whites into bowl of melted chocolate. With a rubber spatula fold melted chocolate mixture into coconut mixture, until well-mixed. Fold in crushed potato chips.
4. Spray the cups of a muffin tray with cooking oil. With moistened hands, pat down a clump of macaroon mixture into the muffin cups so that it forms a shallow mini pie-shell.
5. Place in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until macaroon tart shells are crispy golden around edges. Remove from oven and let cool.
6. To make berry filling: in a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine blueberries and raspberries. Thoroughly mix in sugar, lemon juice, and potato starch, breaking down berries as you stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes until a thick and juicy consistency results.
7. Let berry filling cool. Spoon cooled mixture into tart shells and top as desired. Serve at room temperature and enjoy!
For a richer, creamier filling: blend ¼ cup almond milk, 2 tablespoons almond meal, and 2 tablespoons maple syrup together with berry sauce