Growing up, Passover was the holiday with all the rules. Among the “must”s were cleaning the whole house, covering the countertops, replacing the spices. Among the “mustn’t”s: bread, muffins, pasta, cake, cookies. Seeing as how I practically subsisted on spaghetti as a kid – homemade tomato sauce was the first food I perfected – I positively dreaded the gluten-less days of Passover. I really wasn’t into all the rules.
Ironically, though, as soon as the holiday arrived, my usual rules of eating went right out the window. Foods I’d never eat during the year, like matzo kugel and whitefish, suddenly seemed delicious. I couldn’t get enough. I remember sitting at my parents’ dining room table on the last day of Passover one year, nibbling on a matzo brei, thinking just how tasty it was, and realizing that in five hours, when the holiday ended, I’d never want to see matzo brie again. Funny how that works.
Terri, D’s stepmom, also breaks some of her own rules on Passover. An exceedingly healthy eater year-round, she goes through an absurd amount of margarine on Passover. What can you do, she says. There isn’t much to work with.
And she’s right. My mother, a mindful and healthy cook, makes a passover carrot kugel recipe that essentially reads like one for chocolate chip cookies. Sub carrots for chocolate, and you’ll have a carrot kugel that actually will make people swoon. On Passover.
Inspired by Passover’s permit to break the rules of healthy year-round eating, I attempted a carrot kugel of my own this year. It’s adapted from everyone’s favorite sisterhood cookbook, “Second Helpings, Please” – because sisterhoods are the leading source of excellent kugel recipes, no? – and it’s delicious, on Passover and year round. A couple of you requested this recipe, and while I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to share it, hopefully it comes just in time for your Seder. Don’t sweat the fact that it’s terrible for you; that’s sort of what Passover food is all about.
Looking for more Passover recipes? Here ya go.
adapted from Second Helpings, Please
1 cup matza cake meal (if making this not on Passover, please, please use flour here)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 1/4 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup melted butter or canola oil
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and set a rack in the center of the oven.
Butter and flour an 8” square baking pan.
Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, combine eggs, oil, lemon juice, and carrots.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until the two are combined and no lumps of flour remain. Transfer batter into the prepared baking pan, and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for 45 minutes; when done, kugel should spring back when touched.
Serve warm or at room temperature.