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?”
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.
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.
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!
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
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.