Passover and Easter: Food from an Interfaith Family 

When I was a child, in our house we celebrated both Passover and Easter. This may seem like a very hard thing to do, given the many dietary restrictions during Passover.

Believing that both sides should be given an equal chance to celebrate these two holidays, our family solved this problem. We adhered to the Passover restrictions, but on Easter Sunday we had a “special” meal.

I can remember as a child going through the wonderful first two nights of the Passover, with dozens of family and friends gathering. It always seemed that it was either my cousin, who is also from an interfaith family, or myself who got to ask the famous four questions. We all then searched for the hidden Afikomen “dessert.” We knew that the first to find it would be given a wonderful gift. 

Then came Easter Sunday, an altogether different holiday. We did not go to church or anything like that, but my mother and father would always have an egg hunt for me. They would also hide Easter treats around the house, and I would have to try and find them all. Usually a girlfriend of mine would spend the night and be there with me in the morning to do our ever-so-careful search for those wonderful little goodies. The Easter meal we ate was usually a roast leg of lamb. 

We would have all the trimmings, but, with the Passover in mind, we would not break bread, instead simply passing the matzah. 

Here are a few recipes for the first Seder and for Easter. 

Charoset, for the Seder Plate 

This is one of very many kinds. 

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped 
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds 1 teaspoon cinnamon
3-5 tablespoons of sweet wine 

All must be very finely chopped and then the cinnamon and wine is added. Stir well to mix and then chill for use on the Seder Plate. 

CG’s Apple Matzah Kugel 

3 matzot
4 tablespoons chicken fat or vegetable fat
5 eggs, separated
1 cup matzah meal
1 /4 cup finely chopped almonds rind of 1 lemon, grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated 

Dip the matzah in cold water just to moisten, then press dry. Melt half of the fat in a frying pan. Break up the matzah and fry it until it is quite dry over low heat. Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemony in color. Add the matzah meal and then the fried matzot. Mix lightly, but well. Add the almonds, lemon rind, salt, and grated apple. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold them into the yolk mixture. Pour into a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Dot with the rest of the fat and then bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes, or until fluffy and light and delicately brown. 

Serves 6-8. 

This next dish can be used for either the Passover meal or for Easter dinner, as a side dish. 

CG’S Carrot, Sweet Potato and Apple Tzimmes 

(a kind of “pudding”) 

3 carrots, peeled and sliced thin
4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
3 tart apples peeled, quartered, and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons chicken fat or vegetable fat 1 cup water 

Cook the carrots and the sweet potatoes until tender. Drain well. In a 2-1/2 qt. baking dish alternate carrots, sweet potatoes, and apples in layers. Sprinkle each layer with brown sugar and dot with fat and salt and pepper. Add the water and cover tightly. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes, or until apples are tender. Remove the cover and bake until top is golden. 

Serves 6-8. 

CG’S Roast Leg of Lamb

Make slits with the sharp tip of a knife all over the lamb. Insert slivers of garlic in each slit. Rub the lamb with oil and season with salt and pepper. 

Slice a large onion and line the bottom of the roasting pan with it. Place the lamb on top of the onions. Pour in 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sweet wine. Cover and roast at 350° for 1-1 /2 hours. Remove the cover and drain off the drippings, saving for gravy, if you like. Continue to roast until the lamb is crisp and done to your liking. 

Remember if you do make gravy, you must use potato starch for the thickening agent, to stick with the restrictions of Passover. We usually also make a mint sauce to pour over the lamb slices. I was taught how to make this wonderful, tasty sauce by a dear friend. Dr. Brenda Howell, who recently passed on. Each time I make this sauce I think of Brenda and her wonderful dedication to UNESCO, and all the people of the world. 

Mint Sauce for the Lamb 

Bunch of fresh mint leaves cider vinegar
sugar, salt, and pepper 1/2 cup of boiling water 

Chop the mint leaves very fine. Melt about three teaspoons of sugar in 2/3 cup boiling water. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Add the mint leaves and mix very well. Let sit several hours or overnight. 

From the February/March 1994 Issue of Dovetail Magazine



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