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Hearty Sunday Brunch Is Perfect Way to Celebrate the Passover Holiday : Hot Eggs Benedict, Cold Grapefruit Ice Hit Mark

March 31, 1988|JUDY ZEIDLER | Zeidler is a free-lance writer and cookbook author. and

Passover begins on Friday evening this year with the first seder, and the first Sunday of the holiday is a perfect time to celebrate with a family Passover brunch.

Perhaps you never thought you could have an interesting brunch during Passover because Jewish dietary laws forbid the use of all baked goods made with flour, baking powder and other leavening agents. So that automatically leaves out popular brunch favorites: the usual bagels, yeast rolls, muffins, French toast, quiche, pancakes, coffee cakes and hot breads.

But with this brunch menu you will never miss any of those foods. Begin with a tangy and refreshing first course of orange and grapefruit slices ringed around a scoop of grapefruit ice. Then serve an unusual Passover version of Eggs Benedict. Passover Popovers, flavored with rosemary, are split and covered with slices of roasted turkey or chicken, hopefully leftover from seder. This is layered with fresh asparagus spears and topped with a poached egg. The entire creation is covered with a festive touch, golden Passover Hollandaise Sauce, garnished with watercress and sprinkled with chopped sweet red peppers.

Crisp and Chewy Sweets

Because I usually like to serve a light dessert to complete a festive holiday brunch, I have developed recipes for two crisp and chewy Passover sweets to serve with coffee. Both are baked without flour and leavening agents. If you start from scratch, be sure to make enough charoset for seder, since it is an important part of the ritual. In my own family's seder, we like to serve a sampling of seven or eight different varieties of charoset from around the world.

Apricot-Nut Thins are a perfect sweet for Passover entertaining. Dried apricots and toasted pecans add flavor and texture to these easy to make matzo meal cookies.

Beverages include plenty of hot coffee and tea and fruit juices for the children. Serve wine with this menu--a white or rose wine would be nice, and there are many Passover wines to choose from. The wines are imported from Israel, France and Italy, and a wide range of varieties are available. And, of course, many California wineries are producing excellent Passover wines too.


Grapefruit Ice With Glazed Citrus Sections

Passover Eggs Benedict With Asparagus Spears

Charoset Squares

Apricot-Nut Thins

Tea, coffee and fresh fruit juice

Suggested wines: Dry white wine or rose


Grapefruit Ice

Glazed Orange and Grapefruit Sections

Fresh mint leaves, optional

Place scoop of Grapefruit Ice in center of large wine glass or shallow bowl. Arrange Glazed Orange and Grapefruit Sections in circle around ice and garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately. Makes about 12 servings.

Grapefruit Ice

2 1/4 cups strained grapefruit juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 1/2 cups Sugar Syrup

In large pitcher, blend together grapefruit juice, lemon juice, orange juice and Sugar Syrup. Pour into freezer tray and let set. Scrape around edges as ice hardens until completely frozen. Or freeze according to directions in ice cream freezer. Makes 3 3/4 cups.

Sugar Syrup

2 cups water

2 1/2 cups sugar

Place water and sugar in saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring with wooden spoon until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Pour into bowl or jar, cover with plastic wrap and cool. Syrup can be stored in covered jar in refrigerator. Makes about 4 cups.

Glazed Orange and Grapefruit Sections

8 large oranges, preferably navel

2 small pink grapefruit

2 cups Sugar Syrup

With sharp knife cut away peel from oranges and grapefruit. Divide into sections. Place in shallow serving platter and marinate with Sugar Syrup at least 30 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.


Herbed Passover Popovers

Leftover chicken or turkey

Poached Eggs

Passover Hollandaise Sauce

Steamed Asparagus

Finely diced sweet red and yellow peppers

Watercress sprigs

Split popovers in half crosswise. Place bottom half on heated plates. Place slices of chicken or turkey across popover half. Carefully place poached egg and pour hot hollandaise sauce over. Top with asparagus and remaining top half of popover. Sprinkle with red and yellow peppers and garnish with watercress. Serve immediately. Makes 12 servings.

Herbed Passover Popovers

2 cups matzo meal

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1/4 cup oil or margarine

4 eggs

1 teaspoon minced rosemary or parsley

In large mixing bowl, combine matzo meal and salt. Set aside.

In saucepan bring water and oil to boil. Pour into matzo meal mixture and mix well. Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in rosemary. Let stand 10 minutes.

With oiled hands, shape into rounds and place in well-oiled muffin pans or on baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 12 popovers.

Poached Eggs


12 eggs

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