Monday, March 25, 2013

Seven-Layer Chocolate Cake for Passover (Gluten Free)

This is in the nature of a definite experiment. I made it last night, using gluten free Passover matzos I found at Safeway. It's for the last Lenten night of the Bible study group, so I haven't tried it.  I felt like God was speaking to me, right there in the ethnic foods section.
 "Chase! Make that cake with the matzos. You can actually eat it." The matzos, in case anyone else is trying to procure the gluten free variety, are made by Yehuda and imported from Israel. I bought them at the Safeway on Davenport Street in DC. Rodman's, just down the street, has matzo cake meal, if on the eve of Passover itself, you (A.) are still looking, and (B.) live in or near the District of Columbia. Rodman's also has the Elite Chocolate, with the picture of the happy cow on the wrapper.
This recipe tells you to do some improbable things. The most improbable thing the cook is to do is to "moisten, not soak," matzos in a dish of wine. I was thinking, I would end up with a sodden mass.  Well, you can do this. I may have left the matzo in for all of 30 seconds while I groped for the camera to take a picture. It came out wet from the wine, but still intact and perhaps a tiny bit softer. I confess, I did not test for consistency, I just laid it on top of the last one and frosted it.
I was afraid that if the matzo did not dissolve in the wine, that it would shatter while being frosted. It didn't. The frosting is fairly liquid, and if the cook applies it gently, the matzo stays intact.
There was just enough frosting, which I was pleased as punch to be able to make with my own marmalade. Heh, heh. It looks like,,,maybe one of those tortes that an improbably named catalogue store of my youth called Italian Swiss Colony used to sell. Tiny, skinny little layers, separated by layers of frosting. It is not a high, fluffy cake, as matzos are not light, fluffy crackers. (I didn't see any round matzos, although the square ones come in white and whole wheat, and chocolate covered.)
In case anyone is still wondering, I finally got the definitive word on matzo cake meal from my Judaism expert, rabbi in training Margaux Yael-Buck, of St. Louis. She says, grains such as wheat, barley, oats, and even rice, and food made from them are forbidden at Passover because they could conceivably ferment if left in water. Anyone who has made sourdough starter can attest to this. Mix flour and water and leave it out long enough, and the microbes in the air will start it bubbling away. Matzos, though made from flour, are baked in a very short time, thus cutting off the fermentation process. Therefore, I guess, even if you mixed matzo cake meal with water and left it out in the air, it would not ferment.
(This sounds like a science fair project. Hypothesis: If I mix matzo cake meal and water and leave it someplace warm, it will ferment.) Joke, readers. I am not saying matzo cake meal will ferment. Margaux has spent an extremely long time studying this stuff, and if she says it's so, it's so.

Seven-Layer Chocolate Cake for Passover

1/2 pound Elite bittersweet chocolate (three bars)
1 tablespoon margarine
1/2 pound orange marmalade
2 eggs
2 tablespoons brandy
1 cup semi-dry white wine
8 round matzos
chopped nuts

1. Melt the chocolate, margarine and marmalade in the top of a double boiler over hot water.
2. Add the eggs and beat with a wire whisk until the  mixture is as thick as sour cream. (Be careful to turn down the heat under the water. If the mixture is too  hot the eggs will cook and you will have chocolate marmalade scrambled eggs.) Add the brandy and remove pan from the heat.
3. Continue beating until mixture again attains the consistency of sour cream. Pour the wine into a large, shallow dish.(like a square baking dish.)
4. Dip the matzos, one at a time, into the wine just to moisten but not to soak. Place moistened matzo on a cake plate and coat with a layer of the chocolate mixture. Top with another moistened matzo and more chocolate, continuing until all matzos are used. Use remaining chocolate mixture to frost sides. Decorate with nuts and let set at room temperature. Makes six to eight servings.

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