During this period on the Jewish calendar, we are counting the days between Pesach and Shavuos, the holiday when we celebrate receiving the Torah.
Although I don’t regularly think about carrying over the dishes I make at Pesach into the year, my thoughts are shifting. That’s because, I have to admit, I really do love the food I make on Pesach. Why then do I habitually brace myself right around Purim as if preparing for something unpleasant? I accept that Pesach is hard work, and I’ve learned to free myself from other commitments in the lead-up, but why do I have such a hard time thinking about my Passover kitchen as a year round resource and refuse to capitalize on its benefits?
When I plan my Passover cooking, I usually begin thinking about what I can’t use-chometz. I’ve noticed that this is not such a positive approach. If I was going to make a meal and my family asked me; “What’s for dinner?” I definitely would not respond; “Well, we’re having such and such, but that’s only because I couldn’t make so and so.” I’m sure you would agree that it’s not the best sales tool, for either the cook or the consumer. So this year, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to focus on what is special at Pesach. If you refer to the COR Pesach guide, http://www.cor.ca/view/434/cor_passover_guide_20135773.html, you will see some of my favourites, but there are a few other dishes that are really excellent and I had to taste them to remember how good they are. Not to mention that I received an ice cream maker from my kids for a pre Pesach birthday gift (talk about the gift that keeps on giving), and we really enjoyed that.
In reviewing my Pesach meals, (so that I’m not starting from square one next year), there is something I make that has no history, symbolism, or particular eye appeal, but is downright delicious and that is a Sweet Potato Tart. I would like to call it a Sweet Potato Pie, because the name rolls off the tongue in such a sweet Southern way, but then you might risk serving this only for dessert. Although the flavour is a little on the sweet side, and can fall into the ‘afters’ category, it definitely is a savoury dish and belongs during the meal, especially if it’s served with a mess of caramelized onions on the side.
In trying to bring Pesach into the year, and making each day (meal?) count, I’ve decided that the focus of my next few blogs will be on savoury tarts, of which the Sweet Potato is an example. They are so lovely and light and equally delicious either pareve or dairy, especially if you like to serve cheesy-milky meals during the holiday of Shavuos. They can also be prepared in advance and served hot for Friday night or room temperature for Shabbos lunch.
Although, this tart looks rustic, it’s taste will convince you to include it in your recipe repertoire (and there is no oil or margarine in the filling, only the creaminess of the sweet potato).
Let’s change the world, one recipe at a time,
Nancy Weisbrod, Director of Culinary Education, Kashruth Council of Canada
PS In the pictures above, one tart was make with walnuts and the other with pecans. Please click on the following Recipe Title to take you to the recipe:
Sweet Potato Tart