Tuesday, April 12, 2011

matzo brei with pear, ricotta and dried cherries

matzo brei with pears, ricotta and dried cherries

Not many of my friends actually look forward to Passover. Most of them, in fact, regard it with disdain – it’s just another reminder of even more things they can’t eat for over a week. Even my tref-eating friends feel the need to adhere to as much of the discipline as possible. “If not this holiday,” said a friend last year, “then when?”

matzos

He has a point. A week of avoiding bread and pasta (which is the least of Passover dietary complications) – might work wonders for the waistline, but someone like me always ruins a low-carb proposition. “But you can have potatoes,” I exclaim to heavy eye-rolling. So much for that spring cleanse.

a lone pear nekkid pear

I, for one, actually look forward to Passover. It challenges my creative cooking muscle. Last year, I was all about almonds and strawberries; and verdant, green asparagus. This year, however, I’m all about the matzo brei. If you think matzo is the kind of thing you suffer through once a year, usually smeared with cream cheese and topped with lox (and for me the requisite slice of the crunchy onion) – think again. Passover breakfast just got better.

I’ve been experimenting both the sweet and savory versions of matzo brei, but I tend to gravitate towards the sweet one here. After playing around with cream cheese, quark, and mascarpone, I settled on a creamy and delicate fresh ricotta, softened with cream, layered with chunks of pear, and dotted with tart dried cherries. In case you’re wondering, I had to restrain myself from adding more cream to the recipe, because I’m the kind of girl who actually likes to drink cream plain.

yet another dish that won't be winning any beauty contests

So come next week, when Andrew and I are visiting our families and piling our plates high with brisket, gefilte fish, haroset and maror, we’ll have this matzo brei on our minds. Because breakfasts like these – make waking up that much sweeter.

Matzo Brei With Pear, Ricotta, And Dried Cherries

Not Jewish or celebrating Passover? Don’t let this technicality prevent you from having this for breakfast. I say below that this serves 4, but I, easily, ate half the skillet myself. That could be because the tart sour cherries have some kind of a magical hold on me. Also the cinnamon. And the cream. And ricotta. And pear. Maybe the whole thing – just make some, all right? You’ll be glad you did!

Ingredients:
4 matzos, broken into 2-3 inch pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup ricotta
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pear, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup dried tart cherries
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Preparation:

1. Break matzos into 2-3 inch pieces

2. Place matzos in a bowl, and cover with water. Place a plate on surface to keep matzos submerged. Let stand for 5 minutes, and drain. Return to bowl.

3. Whisk eggs and salt together in a small bowl. Add the sugar, ricotta and cream and mix well to combine. Add pear, cherries, cinnamon and 1/4 cup oil, and mix well to combine. Add to matzoh and gently stir until combined.

4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spread matzo mixture evenly in skillet, pressing firmly into pan. Cook, undisturbed, for 5 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatula, 1 piece at a time. (The mixture will break into 3 or 4 pieces.) Cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Spoon onto serving plates. Serve hot or warm.

Serves 4.

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12 Comments

  • 1
    Ruth said:

    I’d never heard of this – but that isn’t going to stop me trying this recipe. To be honest you had me at ‘cream’! :-)

    April 12, 2011 1:23 pm
  • 2

    What a wonderful combination of flavors, I can’t wait to try this.

    April 12, 2011 1:26 pm
  • 3
    Rachel said:

    I am a Passover fan as well – I have to keep myself from making matzo brei all year round so it stays special for the holiday! This looks fantastic, I can’t wait to try it next week. One question – how much cream and ricotta?

    April 12, 2011 1:31 pm
  • 4
    Radish said:

    Rachel – oops, so sorry! Ingredients – fixed. Thank you for pointing this out to me!!

    April 12, 2011 1:42 pm
  • 5
    Errin said:

    This looks delish! I love all the new matzo recipes out there that are making it more edible (still have bad childhood memories!) Ditto the above comment about how much ricotta and cream to use. And no one said that Passover had to healthy! :) No other holiday is…so why should Passover be sadled with this horrible fate?

    April 12, 2011 1:45 pm
  • 6
    Radish said:

    Errin – so sorry – I fixed the omission. :)

    April 12, 2011 1:51 pm
  • 7

    Mmm, I’ve never had this made with real matzo crackers before since I live in NZ, but my American vegan friend always made this as a stuffing around Thanksgiving. So delicious! Would love to try this myself.

    April 12, 2011 6:23 pm
  • 8

    Now here’s a new one on me, and I have all the ingredients..well I have marscapone (no ricotta), but I know that will work, too! What a great recipe. Perfect for Passover.. or any time

    April 13, 2011 10:15 am
  • 9

    I love Passover food – it’s fun! And it’s special. Funny, though, in my house matzo brei has always been savory, not sweet. I think some families are in the sweet camp and others firmly not. My college roommate introduced me to the sweet version as she drizzled her matzo brei with maple syrup. But my mom has always been heavy on the salt so I am too!

    April 13, 2011 10:40 am
  • 10
    Anna said:

    Hi,
    You list 1/4 cup oil in the ingredients but refer to 1/2 cup oil in the recipe. Freaked me out:) Glad to see it’s only 1/4 cup. Not a fan of excess fat.

    April 20, 2011 7:50 am
  • 11
    Radish said:

    Anna- thanks, that was a typo – fixed now.

    April 20, 2011 7:57 am
  • 12

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