Hot Fudge and Strawberry Sauce

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I dare you to name a Passover dessert that isn’t terrible. Cakes made with matzo meal? They’re inevitably dry and powdery. Macaroons from a canister? Grossly sticky and sickeningly sweet. Those disgusting jellied candy fruit slicesGet the hell away from me and never return.

Faced with options like these, you might as well stick to the sad bowl of grapes and sliced cantaloupe lurking at the end of your seder’s buffet.

There is, of course, a solution to the terrible Passover dessert conundrum. Instead of making or eating Pesach-sanctioned versions of regular foods (cake, cookies, candy), simply go with desserts that don’t depend on Pesach-forbidden ingredients (flour, corn starch/corn syrup — except wait, actually, never mind that last one) in the first place. And ideally, don’t make them parve — because an absence of dairy is often the enemy of good desserts. (Though not always.)

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Flourless chocolate cake is an obvious solution; so are meringues and macaroons that come from actual ingredients rather than a metal cylinder.

You know what I’ve never really seen before, though? A Passover sundae, draped in sauces both fruity and chocolatey. Maybe it’s time to add a new sweet to the Pesach rotation — after making just a few (read: a lot of) important adjustments.

Fudge 1

Hot Fudge Sauce

2 oz. [or squares? It’s tough to tell, because this recipe is hand-written into the cookbook. It doesn’t really matter, though, because if you use my method, you’ll want to throw in more chocolate than this anyway] Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons light cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate in double boiler [or a single microwave]. Add remaining ingredients except egg, and mix thoroughly. [You’ll be left with a pale hot cocoa-looking liquid, like so. Don’t fret: It’ll transform into fudge eventually.]

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Take off fire and mix a little chocolate at a time to egg yolk. [Do this step carefully and slowly; you don’t want to scramble the egg in the hot chocolate mixture. Ew.] Refrigerate and heat when ready to use.

[By following these rules, you’ll end up with something that looks like this…

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… which, again, ain’t exactly fudge. Stay tuned for how we’ll fix it.]

strawberry 1

Berry Sauce

4 cups ripe berries: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc. [I used straw because they were the best-looking berries my market had, although I’d love to try again with another berry, or a mixture]
1 cup water

Wash and hull berries. Line a large strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.

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Combine berries and water in a medium saucepan and bring slowly to boiling point. Reduce heat and cook (simmer) very slowly for exactly 10 minutes. [Nonnie underlines that instruction, so YOU’D BETTER FOLLOW IT.]

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Transfer mixture  to strainer and let stand, without squeezing, until juice has dripped into bowl. Gently squeeze pulp to extract remaining juices. Measure juice into a saucepan and add 1 cup (or less if desired sugar for each cup juice. [I added less, because that’s what I desired — it was more like 1/3 cup sugar for a cup of juice. And it was still pretty sweet.]

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and syrup comes to a boil. Boil exactly 2 minutes. [Not underlined. Just saying.]

strawberry 7

Remove from heat and skim off foam. Can be refrigerated for 2 months or frozen for one year.

The verdict: The strawberry syrup was pleasantly strawberry-y, although it wasn’t nearly as fruity or thick as I would’ve liked. Next time, I’ll try cooking down the berries longer, adding sugar directly into the pot, and simply pureeing everything with an immersion blender — rather than going through the tedious steps of straining and squeezing and re-boiling.

I know I’d end up with something chunkier than this smooth syrup — but texture is good, right?

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I didn’t actually put any of these ideas into action when I made the strawberry syrup, mostly because I didn’t have any extra strawberries.

The fudge, on the other hand? I feel pretty comfortable calling it an abject failure as written. I mean, look at this stuff. That ain’t fudge. That ain’t even Hershey’s syrup.

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I knew something needed to be done here — and because I had both the wherewithal and the necessary ingredients, I tinkered with this one, adding more unsweetened chocolate one square at a time (when all was said and done, I ended up using a full four-ounce bar), as well as a tablespoon of coconut oil (to thicken it up) and a longer turn on the stove, stirring my concoction constantly over low heat for five minutes until it turned thick and glossy.

The result? Well, you can judge it for yourself.

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Yeah. This shit is good — and stiff enough to break your spoon when it’s cold, though it spreads beautifully when hot. (I learned that the hard way.)

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It’s good enough, in fact that I’m feeling a sudden urge to head fridgeward and break another spoon. Passover was never so sweet.

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