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Memories of Matzo Brei

Each year, the morning after our Passover Seder, most of us would still be too full to even consider breakfast. Still, my grandfather always made matzo brei (rhymes with “fry”), a classic Ashkenazic dish. Since we can’t eat leavened bread or fermented grain products during Passover, toast and cereal were off the table for breakfast. But this cross between a frittata and a pancake—unleavened, of course—became a special, Passover-only treat. My grandfather would break the matzos into pieces, soak in water just until soft, then fry with eggs and lots of butter. My sister and I promptly covered our portions in syrup (this was our only stand-in for pancakes, after all) while my parents ate theirs plain with fruit on the side.

There are two staunchly devoted camps when it comes to matzo brei: the savory and the sweet. The savory camp will often add caramelized onions and fry in chicken fat, while the sweet camp makes a custardy brei and tops with cinnamon-sugar. I wanted to play up the sweet brei I remembered from childhood, garnished here like a Dutch Baby with a squeeze of lemon and confectioner’s sugar. During a week of dry, plain matzo, it’s what I crave.

Sweet Matzo Brei You can make one large pancake or individual ones, cooked two at a time. Serve with fresh strawberries.

11/2     cups 2% milk, divided 4          plain matzos, broken into 2-inch pieces 1          teaspoon lemon rind 1          teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2       teaspoon kosher salt 3          large eggs, beaten 1          tablespoon butter 2          teaspoons confectioner’s sugar 4          lemon wedges

1. Heat 11/4 cups milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm. Remove from heat. Add matzo to pan; Let stand 2 minutes until slightly softened. Drain in a colander, pressing gently.

2. Combine remaining 1/4 cup milk, rind, vanilla, salt, and eggs in medium bowl; add matzo, stirring gently.

3. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add egg mixture, pressing gently into a single layer. Cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Place a plate upside down on top of pan; invert egg mixture onto plate. Carefully slide egg mixture back into pan. Cook an addition 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Slide egg mixture onto plate. Cut into 8 wedges. Sprinkle with sugar and serve with lemon wedges.

SERVES 4 (serving size: 2 wedges).

Looking for more delicious Passover recipes? Pin some of our most popular Passover favorites to your board, or find a tempting Seder sweet you can serve at your celebration. If you're from a combination family, get a menu that celebrates both Easter and Passover favorites.

Photos by Johnny Autry