Category Archives: Passover

Beyond Nut Cake: Pesach Desserts by Ronit Peskin

Beyond Nut Cake: Delectable and Different Pesach  Desserts for Chassidishe Minhagim by Ronit Peskin is an e-book determined to put to rest the misconception that the only possible non-gebrokts Pesach dessert is nut cake.

Beyond Nut Cake Pesach Desserts by Ronit Peskin coverArmed with only peel-able fruit and vegetables, nuts that can be shelled at home (including coconut), salt, eggs, wine, and sugar syrup, Ronit Peskin concocted over twenty-five desserts, ranging from flans to ice creams, from banana fritters to crepes, and even a recipe for how to make your own marzipan.

The recipes are all non-dairy, gluten-free, and suitable for people who have all kinds of dietary restrictions.

For those who don’t know Ronit, she’s the force behind Penniless Parenting, a frugal parenting blog taglined: “A Rich Life on a Minimum Wage.”

She’s undaunted at the prospect of making almost anything at home, and this shows in this short e-book, where she starts off with the basics.  How to make sugar syrup is pretty self-explanatory.  But had I ever even considered making my own potato starch? Not. Somehow, she makes it seem likely that I actually might try one day.

Instructions for nut milks and nut butters follow, before we get to the desserts.  I don’t believe a meal – any meal – qualifies for the term unless it includes dessert, so of course this was one book that spoke to my heart… or at least my stomach.

I’ve never tried flan with coconut cream, nor lemon curd with oranges instead, so our Pesach desserts are going to have some delectable new twists this year!

Ronit Peskin also leads foraging hikes, on which she teaches which plants in the greater Yerushalayim area can be used for food, which have first aid and medicinal properties, and which ones are poisonous. (A fascinating and  educational family Chol Hamoed outing, by the way!)   For more, check out


We received a review copy.

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Vegan Passover Cookbook by Rena Reich

This new vegan passover cookbook is here to answer a basic question: “What are we going to eat on Pesach?”

Who hasvegan passover cookbookn’t heard that question before? Imagine being vegan at Pesach. An Ashkenazi vegan, not a Sephardi vegan. Now what do you eat?

In the Vegan Start Passover Cookbook, Rena Reich answers the question for vegan families with such simplicity and grace that she makes it look easy. Her cookbook provides a Seder menu and enough recipes to see you through Pesach without using any dairy, eggs, fish, meat or kitniyot.

In addition to soups and vegetable salads that are suitable all year around, there are the vegan versions of standard Jewish fare: How do you make a potato kugel without eggs? Rena shows us how. Matzo brei, mock chopped liver and matzo ball recipes ensure vegans can still enjoy a traditional Yom Tov meal.

The main courses include “meatballs” made with mushrooms and walnuts, mushroom burgers and mushroom steaks, ratatouille and gnocchi.

No festive meal is complete without desert. With a collection that includes mouthwatering turtle bars, chocolate truffles, cookies, apple cake, and chocolate torte, there is plenty here for the most discriminating sweet tooth.

The recipes I was most happy to see in this book, however, were for the “extras,” like egg-free mayonnaise, almond butter, almond milk and almond crackers with rosemary.

Some of the recipes include matza meal, as in the kishke and matza meal pancakes.

The Vegan Start Passover Cookbook is laid out clearly, with beautiful photographs and clear, step-by-step recipes. None of the recipes are particularly complicated (although gnocchi, by definition, are a patchke!) and the dishes are simply spiced. If you like your matbucha hot, feel free to add more spices to your heart’s content.

This book proves that even with the restrictions against chametz, kitniyot and animal products such as meat, dairy or eggs, it is still possible to create healthy, appetizing food for Yom Tov.

Rena Reich blogs at, where she has a treasure trove of recipes for “food not quite like your mama used to make.”

We received a review copy of this e-book.


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