April 21, 2016

Passover desserts don’t have the best reputation. Those that try to recreate a traditionally leavened product (using flour, baking soda or powder, or yeast) without any of those ingredients tend to be doorstop dense, cloyingly sweet, or with a texture either best described as “very wet sand” or "just gummy."

My family often skips around the leavened dessert idea entirely, serving up ice creams, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and assorted candies at the end of the meal. Dessert options are also easier than ever when you look to the gluten-free category, most of which are Passover-friendly by nature.

Still, an epic meal (call it the Jewish Thanksgiving) calls for a special dessert, one that just belongs to the holiday.

First up: a classic berry crisp for spring. Matzo farfel (broken up matzo) and matzo meal stand in for oats and flour, and potato starch thickens the fruit mixture instead of cornstarch. If you’d like to make the dessert dairy free, sub margarine for the butter and serve with a dollop of fat-free frozen whipped topping.

Strawberry-Blueberry Crisp with Matzo Streusel

1/2 cup sugar1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice1 quart fresh strawberries, trimmed and halved (about 3 cups)2 pints fresh blueberries2 tablespoons potato starch1/2 cup matzo farfel1/3 cup dark brown sugar1/4 cup matzo meal21/2 tablespoons butter, melted1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon1/8 teaspoon kosher saltCooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine sugar and next 4 ingredients (through blueberries) in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in potato starch.

3. Combine matzo farfel and remaining ingredients in a small bowl.

4. Spoon berry mixture into an 11x9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle matzo farfel mixture evenly over top. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until top is browned and crisp and filling is bubbly. Serve with ice cream. SERVES 8

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