If you really want to experience the flavor” of the Passover season, Melissa Moskowitz offers the following memories and recipe:

When I was a little girl growing up in New York City, a highlight was having Passover each year at my grandparents’ house in Washington Heights (a neighborhood in upper Manhattan). I imagined that I could smell my grandmother’s cooking as soon as I emerged from the subway station, five blocks away! Her tiny apartment consisted of a combination living room/dining room/kitchen plus a separate bedroom and bathroom. The “kitchen” was too small to store anything extra for the holiday, so the bedroom was transformed into a “keeping room.” Cookies, cakes and boxes of matzoh filled every available windowsill and spilled over onto the tops of dressers and night stands. I always headed straight for that bedroom as soon as we arrived. I would sit on the bed, inhale the fragrance deeply and pretend I was in some sort of Passover heaven.

I remember the year my cousin and I got scolded for sneaking too many bites of Grandma’s toasted walnut cake—it was halfway gone by the time my grandmother brought it to the table! We suggested that maybe a squirrel had eaten it off the windowsill and observed that Grandma should find a better place to store Passover goodies. We went home stuffed with Passover food but were unable to sit down for the seven remaining days of the holiday!

Unfortunately, I never thought to copy down any of my grandmother’s recipes, and they seem to have disappeared over the years. This recipe comes amazingly close to the cake that got my cousin and me in so much trouble. So watch out for little squirrels, and enjoy!

Toasted Walnut Cake

1 1/2 cups walnut halves or pieces
7 egg whites (or the equivalent in “Simply Whites,” a powdered egg white product)
2/3 cup sugar
7 egg yolks OR 3 egg yolks plus enough liquid egg substitute to equal four eggs
3 tablespoons matzoh meal (NOT matzoh cake meal)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange or lemon peel
confectioner’s sugar, if desired

  • In a 325 degree oven, toast walnuts on a cookie sheet until lightly browned (about five minutes—watch carefully to prevent burning). Set aside to cool.
  • In a deep, medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer (medium speed) until frothy. Add 1/3 cup sugar, increase speed to high and beat until glossy, stiff peaks form.
  • In another bowl, beat the egg yolks or yolk/egg substitute mixture with a whisk (or clean, electric mixer on medium speed) until light and frothy. Add the remaining sugar and continue beating until thick and lemon-colored.
  • Grind cooled walnuts in blender or food processor to meal-like consistency. Stir in matzoh meal and grated peel.
  • Fold walnut/matzoh meal mixture into the beaten yolks. Fold yolk mixture into the beaten whites. Combine until few white streaks remain, being careful not to break down the egg whites.
  • Pour into a 10x15x1-inch cookie sheet or jelly roll pan lined with brown or parchment paper. Bake 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. When cool, cut into three equal rectangles and peel off paper. If desired, top can be sprinkled lightly with sifted confectioner’s sugar. Makes at least 12 servings.

Would you like to see your recipe in print? Melissa Moskowitz edited our first full-sized collection of recipes known as the Jews for Jesus Family Cookbook, with over 300 taste tantalizing dishes, many of which were contributed by friends like you. The cookbook was a great success, but since Melissa has gotten fit she is now watching her fat grams. “Many recipes in my first cookbook require a two hour workout to burn off the calories,” she sighs. Now Melissa is compiling the second Jews for Jesus cookbook, and she is looking for healthy, low fat recipes. She needs your help!

Foods of all ethnic origins are welcome. Melissa promises to consider all suggestions. You can contact her either by e-mail at holicow2@aol.com or c/o Jews for Jesus, 4550 Oakton, Skokie, IL 60076. Don’t send her your recipes, but let her know what recipes you’d like to submit. Send your suggestion by May 30th.

This is a one-time offer. The last cookbook took 13 years to put together. Melissa says she won’t last that long this time.