Category Archives: Passover

Zane Caplansky’s Passover Traditions

Toronto restaurant owner and Food Network Canada judge Zane Caplansky conducts his Seder dinner just as his father did, and his grandfather, and his great-grandfather before him. “Jewish families have celebrated Passover this way all over the world, for thousands of years,” he says. “The word ‘Seder’ means order. It’s a very unifying tradition because whenever I am with my family or other people on Passover, I always reflect that families all over the world are sitting doing this exact same thing and have been doing it for thousands and thousands of years.”

For more than a hundred of those years, the Caplansky family has celebrated Passover in Toronto. Caplansky’s great-grandfather Benjamin emigrated from Poland in 1896, promptly changing his surname to Caplan. “I’ve never met the man, but I always imagined one of the reasons he might have changed the name was to try and fit in better,” says Caplansky. “At the time the idea among the immigrant class was ‘be Yiddish, look British.’”

Caplansky Family Passover, Toronto, 1932

“The couple directly in the centre, seated at the table are my great-grandparents Benjamin and Rose Caplansky,” says Zane Caplansky. “My Zaidy Jack Caplan is on the far left (hair parted). My Nana, (Thunderin’) Thelma Goodman is in the centre, back row (the tallest woman with the bow). “

Now Caplansky, who legally changed his name back to the original when he opened his restaurant, Caplansky’s Deli, embraces his roots. “In Toronto, we celebrate our diversity,” he says. “So, the idea of being different and being from somewhere else is part of my authenticity.”

Lucky for hungry Torontonians and tourists who can’t get enough of his celebrated smoked meats, Zane Caplansky is driven to share his culinary heritage.

Caplansky's Deli Seder

On Passover in particular, his family’s recipes are a focal point at the restaurant’s public Seders, when his bubbie’s brisket and other family favourites take centre stage. The same dishes are available through Caplansky’s Deli’s Passover catering service, or you can make them your own with this menu from Zane Caplansky.

Caplansky Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball Soup
“My matzo ball recipe came from my other grandmother, my bubbie Doris,” says Zane. “So the matzo balls are as classic a dish as a person could possibly have at Passover. Matzo is unleavened bread. The story is that the Jews were in such a hurry to leave Egypt that somebody forgot to either bring the yeast, or didn’t have time to let the bread rise. To commemorate that, we eat unleavened bread. Matzo ball is a chicken soup, and has really come to symbolize Jewish food.”

Carrot Tzimmes
“There is a wonderful cook named Phyllis Grossman, who — twice — has won our Latkepalooza competition for Toronto’s best potato latke. Phyllis is a former advertising executive, turned caterer. She’s an absolutely brilliant cook. She actually had me over at her house for dinner not too long ago. She served me her version of carrot tzimmes that has pineapple in it. I told her I was going to rip that off and she said go right ahead. So I have to give Phyllis due credit on the pineapple.”

Caplansky Family Brisket

Caplansky Family Brisket
The brisket recipe was passed down to me by my grandmother, my mother’s mother, who I named my truck after, Thunderin’ Thelma.”

Chocolate Matzah Crunch
“The matzo crunch was the brainchild of the talented Elspeth Copeland. Elspeth is a friend and also a product developer at the restaurant. She came up with the chocolate matzo crackle, or crunch, and it’s a great garnish that we put on all our desserts, all year round at the deli.”

Bubbie's Manichevitz and Chocolate Matzo Cake

Bubbie’s Manichevitz and Chocolate Matzo Cake

My Bubbie used to make this cake for my family every Passover. My siblings and I used to get so excited for the first Seder, so we could finally dig into the layers of chocolatey deliciousness.

To carry on the tradition, I started making this luscious cake using coconut between each layer for some crunch and nuttiness. Serve this no-bake treat chilled or right out of the freezer for a tasty Passover dessert.

Bubbie's Manichevitz and Chocolate Matzo Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Serves: 8

Ingredients:
4 oz. bitter sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs separated
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups Manischewitz wine
8 matzo sheets
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Bubbie's Manichevitz and Chocolate Matzo Cake

Directions:
1. Melt chocolate over a double boiler on the stovetop, or microwave in 10 second intervals, stirring until glossy and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
2. Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, 1 at a time and then vanilla. Pour in melted chocolate and stir to combine.
3. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold into chocolate mixture.
4. Pour wine into an 8×8-inch baking dish. Soak 1 sheet of matzo in wine for 15 seconds then transfer to a cutting board or cake stand.
5. Smear 2-3 Tbsp of chocolate onto matzo. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of coconut over chocolate. Repeat with remaining 7 layers.
5. Use remaining chocolate to cover sides of the cake. Sprinkle with remaining coconut.
6. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes, or serve frozen.

Matzo cake

Looking for more ideas? Try our 15 Gluten-Free Desserts for Passover.

matzoh-brie

The Ultimate Cinnamon-Strawberry Matzo Brei for Passover

If you’re a pancake or French toast fanatic, it can be tough to find an equally delicious breakfast during Passover. Sweet matzo brei is the perfect solution. Similar to French toast, matzo is soaked in an egg mixture and fried in butter until golden and crispy. It’s super satisfying, delicious and comes together in a snap!

matzo brei strawberry

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
3 sheets matzo (you can use egg matzo, gluten-free or any other type)
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp butter
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
5 strawberries, sliced matzo brei berry

Directions:
1. Break matzo into mismatched pieces and place in a bowl. Run water over matzo for 20 seconds then drain.
2. Beat together eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Place wet matzo in mixture and let soak for 1 minute.
3. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium. Add matzo and pour in any residual egg mixture. Let cook for 1 minute, then stir using a rubber spatula, scraping the sides. The matzo will break apart. Cook, while stirring until egg is cooked through, about 2 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and divide between two plates. Top with strawberry preserves and fresh strawberries.

Looking for more delicious recipes? Try these 10 Delicious Things to Make with Matzo.

Speedy Passover Menu

Amy Rosen’s Speedy Passover Menu

Passover, which starts Friday with the first Seder, commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from ancient Egypt. The holiday celebrates their freedom from slavery. You’ve got Moses, the parting of the Red Sea, the Ten Commandments and a triumphant return to Canaan — I’m sure you’ve seen the movie.

The holiday is full of symbolism, especially through the food. Boiled eggs signifying springtime and renewal, and the salt water in which you dip them mimics the tears and sweat of enslavement. But there are also many delicious dishes to be had!

Here’s a menu for a speedy Passover, for all those times when you have a dozen Jewish friends unexpectedly drop in for dinner during the eight days of Passover.

Starters

Charoset

Amy Rosen’s Charoset
Charoset and matzo are your go-to nibbles to kick off Passover. This is an easy recipe to start your feast.

Chicken Soup
You can pretty much guarantee that Ina Garten routinely makes this soup for her adoring husband Jeffrey, complete with fluffy matzo balls. And it’s as classic a version as it gets — schmaltz (rendered chicken fat) included.

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup with Ground Chicken Meatballs
I love Chuck Hughes’ version with chicken meatballs. Just substitute matzo meal for the breadcrumbs in the balls.

Bobby Flay's Matzo Ball Soup

Matzo Ball Soup
Bobby Flay’s version looks good too, and of course there’s jalapeño in it for a kick of heat.

Fish course

Poached Salmon

Traditional Poached Salmon
Normally this would be gefilte fish, which these days most people buy in a jar and side with horseradish. But Judaism’s dirty little secret is that not everyone likes the stuff — its longevity mostly based on nostalgia. So update your fish course with a fresh and easy dish, like this simply poached salmon, served on a bed of dressed greens.

Homemade Lox
If you’ve somehow planned ahead and have a homemade side of lox curing in the refrigerator, that would be an instant fix; thin slices tossed with some arugula and lemony vinaigrette.

Main course

Caplansky Family Brisket

Caplansky’s Family Brisket
Everyone is going to expect a brisket for dinner, but not this time. Brisket is traditional and delicious, but one thing it isn’t is fast. This recipe is for next time.

Garlic and Citrus Chicken 
For now, here’s a luscious roasted chicken by Giada De Laurentiis, full of lemon, orange and garlic flavours, juicy meat and a crisp skin.

Sides

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes 
Crispy roasted potatoes with lots of rosemary, pepper and salt. Yes, please. (Thanks, Ina!)

Roasted Asparagus
Roasted asparagus is the best asparagus. It’s also a perfect first taste of springtime.

Pan-Fried Zucchini with Toasted Pistachios
This quick dish of zucchini and pistachios is a delicious nod to the Middle East.

Dessert

Passion Fruit Pavlova

Classic Passion Fruit Pavlova
Traditional desserts are out of the question during Passover as you can’t have anything that uses a leavening agent, like baking powder and baking soda, which is why whipped egg whites are where recipes go for lift. Try this classic pavlova with zingy passion fruit.

Passover Brownies

Passover Brownies
If you’re craving chocolate, these easy brownies will get the job done.

Looking for more delicious Passover ideas? Try our 26 New and Classic Passover Recipes.

14 Dishes You Can Indulge in After Passover

Smores Brownies

Passover has come and gone…and so have the strict dietary restrictions! If you’ve been longing for some gluten-filled goodness, then we have the perfect dishes to feed your cravings.

Here is a list of the most irresistible dishes you can enjoy again!

1. Smores Brownies
2. Mini Croissants
3. French Toast Sticks
4. Eggs Benedict
5. Cheesy Quesadillas
6. Banana Bread
7. Three Cheese Pasta Bake
8. Bruschetta Pizza
9. The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich
10. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
11. French Onion and Mushroom Soup with Mozzarella Gratin
12. Spaghetti With Oven-Roasted Tomatoes
13 New York Style Cheesecake
14. Beef and Vegetable Pot Pies

10 Awesome Passover Desserts

Passover Dessert

Observing Passover requires a lot of knowledge and willpower when it comes to kosher do’s and don’ts. Specific foods are off limits, so flour-filled desserts like classic cookies and cakes are off the table. But don’t worry—you can still indulge in many irresistible kosher-for-passover treats!

Here are the 10 best desserts to serve this holiday:

  1. Anna Olson’s Chocolate Truffles
  2. Gluten-Free Almond Flour Scones with Chocolate Chips
  3. No-Bake Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie
  4. Gluten-Free Choco-Cherry Crunchy Meringue Cookies
  5. Warm Maple Almond Chiffon Cakes
  6. Flourless Chocolate Chile Torte
  7. Peach Frozen Yogurt
  8. Flourless Mini Chocolate Orange Cakes with Ganache
  9. Meringue Cups
  10. Field Berry Sundae

 

 

Related:

Top 5 Passover Treats

It’s time for our weekly top 5 post, and this time we’re prepping you for Passover this Monday, March 25th and Tuesday, March 26th, with 5 delicious Passover-friendly recipes. Make sure to also check out our complete Passover Menu.

1. Riccardo Larrivee’s Apple Chips

passover-apple-chips

First up on our list are these yummy apple chips by Ricardo Larrivee. They make a wonderful midday snack that’s delicious as well as nutritious.

2. Spiced Brittle

spiced-brittle-recipe

Michael Smith‘s spiced brittle recipe is super easy to make and only takes about 20 minutes in total. If you’re a fan of treats that aren’t overly sweet, this recipe is perfect for you!

3. Meringue Cups

meringue-cups-recipe

These adorable meringue cups by Trish Magwood are seriously gorgeous and only require four ingredients to make. What more could you ask for?

4. Cocoa Macaroons

cocoa-macaroons-recipe

Cocoa macaroons, courtesy of Anna Olson, are a fantastic way to please the coconut-lover in your family. Bonus: they take a mere 20 minutes to bake!

5. Anna Olson’s Chocolate Truffles

passover-truffles

Chocolate truffles are such a classic treat that it’s hard for anyone to say no to them. With so many different flavour possibilities, you can have fun in the kitchen with these!

 

Related:

 

Perfect Passover Plates

Spring is in the air and so is the scent of unleavened bread!

The Food Network Canada team has scoured our recipe collection for the best Passover-friendly plates to serve your family and friends this holiday.

If your seder is bringing a spectrum of taste buds to your table – Sephardic to Ashkenazi, celiac to meat-free, Anna adorers to Michael fans – the FNC Kitchen has you covered with delicious options.

Here are our favourite four recipes for soups, entrees, greens, starches and desserts; everything you need to pull together a FNC feast this Passover.

 

apple squash soup

SOUPS

Homemade Chicken Broth with Matzo Balls

Spring Pea Soup with Mint

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Cabbage and Beet Soup

 

turkey legs

ENTREES

Mona’s Brisket

Oven-Roasted Turkey Legs

Braised Lamb Shanks in Red Wine

Baked Fish with Basil, Garlic and Lemon

 

watercress salad

GREENS

Kale & Cranberry Slaw

Watercress and Spinach Salad with Toasted Almonds

Sauteed Asparagus

Michael Smith’s Brussels Sprouts

 

potato tortilla

STARCHES

Garlic & Rosemary Roasted Root Vegetables

Potatoes Roasted in Salt

Tortilla (Spanish Potato and Onion Omelette)

Anna’s Sweet Potato Homefries

 

poached pears

DESSERTS

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Fresh Fruit Ideas

Lynn Crawford’s Strawberry Pavlova

Cocoa Macaroons
 

Hungry for more Passover recipe ideas and tips? Check out our perfectly paired content picks below.

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