I always approach conversations about matzah brei with care. Holding an important place in Bubbe’s Greatest Hits, discussions around the dish can get downright emotional. Never really getting the appeal of this Passover specialty, I was always surprised when people of great taste would rhapsodize about it. I mean, it’s just eggs and matzah. Bland-on-bland to my mind …and tastebuds. But then I read the chapter on matzah brei in Jayne Cohen’s Jewish Holiday Cooking, and I began to think of it as a blank canvas food, a dish to be built upon, as you would an omelette, or for my sweet tooth, french toast.
Looking back to another one of Bubbe’s Greatest Hits, salami and eggs, and merging the flavors into matzah brei made the dish over for me, and gave it personal significance, bringing me back to Sunday night dinners at our kitchen table.
Oven-baked Matzah Brei Pudding takes this classic dish into dessert territory, and the chocolate doesn’t hurt one bit either. Allowing time for the matzah to soak up the eggy chocolate pudding in the fridge will yield a moist and, ironically, bread pudding-like consistency. It’s easy to take this dish over-the-top. Throw in nuts or coconut for texture, serve fresh from the oven with a scoop of ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream for a heart-meltingly yummy treat. It’s matzah brei as a year-round comfort dish.
3 slices of matzah
1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 ¼ ” slices of salami (cut into quarters)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sliced scallions, for garnish
1. Break the matzah slices up into pieces so that it can fit into a colander, rinse with cold water until damp but not soggy. Gently with the back of a spoon press out the excess liquid. The matzah will break up into smaller bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
2. In a 10- to 12-inch skillet heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the salami quarters and stir occasionally until browned on both sides ( 4-5 mins).
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl beat eggs with a fork. Add the dampened matzah pieces and gently mix into the beaten eggs until the matzah is well-coated.
4. Add the matzah-egg batter to the skillet. Spread it out evenly, and let it cook until it begins to set. Lift and overturn sections as you would scrambled eggs “until you have a superb mélange of lightly crisp, chewy, moist, and fluffy pieces” rhapsodizes Jayne Cohen in Jewish Holiday Cooking.
5. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with a scattering of fresh chopped scallions.
Makes 3 or 4 servings
3 slices matzah
½ cup milk (low-fat is fine)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (strained of any clumps)
¼ cup sugar
½ cup melted chocolate
Butter, for greasing pan.
1. Break the matzah slices up into pieces so that it can fit into a colander, rinse with cold water until damp but not soggy. Gently with the back of a spoon press out the excess liquid. The matzah will break up into smaller pieces. Set aside.
2. Grease a 8″x8″ Pyrex pan, or another similarly sized casserole pan.
3. In a large bowl whisk together eggs and milk until well combined. Mix in sifted cocoa powder and sugar, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Fold in the melted chocolate into the mix. A thick pudding-like batter will result.
4. Stir in the damp matzah pieces. Pour batter into prepared pan or casserole dish. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
5. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake Chocolate Matzah Brei Pudding uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
Makes 4-6 servings