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With Passover just over a week away, my apartment is already in a flurry of activity. The kids were conscripted into service yesterday and tasked with completely emptying out the contents of their bedrooms. I am pleased to report that, for the first time in the history of the holiday, they were actually very helpful. They sifted “archived” papers from the shelves to garbage bags, critically sorted toys into “keep” and “donate” piles, and then hauled everything down to the basement garbage room. With the exception of the girls’ closet (*sigh*), the kids’ rooms are looking delightfully bare…um…organized. At the same time, I began the monumental task of cleaning out the kitchen. The pantries were both at the point where to open them and rifle around was to risk attack-by-cracker-box. Not fun. Both have been emptied, sorted, cleaned, and restocked (sans expired food). The in-kitchen pantry remains completely empty, waiting to be stocked with Passover-friendly food. (Next up, the fridge and freezer scrub-downs. Super fun.)

In between all the cleaning (how is it possible that we had a box of couscous dated 2014?) and the yelling (why on Earth did Older Daughter have lollipop wrappers under her bed?!), the test kitchen was churning out batch after batch of desserts for this blog. From cakes to muffins to cookies, everything needed to be honed, triple checked, and photographed before it could be posted in the blogosphere. I hope to post at least one recipe per day for the next several days so that everyone who is prepping and planning and shopping and baking will be able to do so well in advance of the dawning of the holiday.

To start with, I offer up and oldie but goodie. (Well, it is an oldie to me but so good that Husband wishes I’d make it more often.) This chocolate-hazelnut torte is simple to make and uses few ingredients, but is rich in flavor and has a great texture due to the nut meal that provides its texture. The torte is “leavened” with egg whites – but of you cringe at the idea of separating the eggs and wasting 8 egg yolks, feel free to use boxed egg whites. If you can’t find hazelnut meal, you can use almond meal or any other nut flour – or use a combination. Go nuts! (HA!) Serve with a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar and a drizzle of raspberry sauce (recipe follows below). The raspberry sauce is also fantastic with the Alsatian Almond Macaroons that I will be sharing with you.


(Chocolate-Hazelnut Torte)


8 egg whites, divided (240g) or 1 cup/8 fl oz if you’re using boxed egg whites)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (50g)  Dutch process cocoa powder (eg. Droste)
1 cup (200g) sugar
3 Tbsp (40g)oil
1 cup (115g) hazelnut meal
Confectioner’s sugar (optional)
Raspberry sauce (recipe follows)


  1. PREHEAT AND PREP: Preheat oven to 350° Prep a 9” cake pan or spring form pan with a parchment circle and baking spray.
  2. BEAT EGG WHITES: Beat 6 egg whites with salt until stiff and dry. Set aside.
  3. MAKE CHOCOLATE-NUT PASTE: Combine cocoa, sugar, oil, and remaining unbeaten egg whites in a bowl. Combine to create a stiff paste. Add nuts and mix well.
  4. ADD EGG WHITES: Stir in 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and mix to the prepared pan.
  5. BAKE: Bake for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cool.
  6. SERVE: Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and a drizzle of raspberry sauce (recipe below)




2 10-oz packages of frozen raspberries (or other berries)
½ cup (50g) sugar


  1. DEFROST BERRIES: Defrost berries.
  2. PUREE: Blend with sugar until smooth.
  3. STRAIN: Pass through fine mesh strainer to remove any seeds.