Baked Matzo Pudding with a Cherry-Almond Sauce

Source: Seattle-Times Online Food Section
adapted by There's Always Thyme to Cook

10 sheets of matzo, broken into small pieces
1 tablespoon walnut oil
2 cups almond milk (don't use unsweetened varieties)
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, loosely packed
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups dried cherries
1/3 cup matzo meal
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 cups black cherry juice
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons potato starch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 11-by-13-inch glass baking dish with vegetable oil or olive oil.

In a large bowl, soak the matzo pieces in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, pressing out as much excess water as possible. Return the softened matzo to the bowl and add the walnut oil. Toss to coat, then set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk, eggs and egg whites.

In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the almond milk mixture and to the softened matzo; stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the brown sugar mixture (reserve the remaining few tablespoons) and the dried cherries. Stir to combine.

Stir in the matzo meal, then spread the mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle the top with the reserved brown sugar mixture and slivered almonds. Bake until golden-brown on top and no longer wet at the center, 50 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium-high, bring the cherry juice and almond extract to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and stir in the potato starch mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened, about another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Serve the matzo pudding, warm from the oven, room temperature or cold, topped with the cherry-almond sauce.

The dessert is best served warm from the oven, but can be eaten at room temperature and cold as well. Leftovers make a great addition to a breakfast or brunch.

While the pudding is baking, a quick sauce is made with cherry juice and a touch of almond extract. Potato starch (available in the grocer's kosher foods section) is used for thickening; cornstarch usually is avoided during Passover.

The only cherry juice I could find was unsweetened so I added sugar to the sauce, more than half a cup. Use more less depending on your tastes. And I added some frozen Bing cherries to the sauce. Came out great. The sauce would also be fantastic poured warm on top of a really good vanilla ice cream.
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