First, can anyone tell me the right way to spell "matzoh/matzo/matzah"?
At the risk of sounding like a tourist in a religion I don’t belong to, I have to say that I love a good Seder. On a purely surface level, I find the ritual of the Seder to be a fun, interactive meal with (mostly) tasty food and interesting stories. My Seder attendance peaked during the four years I was in college*, when I would go to my Great-Aunt Gloria’s house every Passover. Her house was not the place to experience a full, traditional Seder, since she stopped keeping a kosher kitchen decades ago and many of the guests, including her Irish-Catholic husband, were newbies to Jewish tradition. But since we didn’t know any better, an abbreviated, 45-minute Seder was just fine. We all gamely tasted our bitter herbs, watched out for Elijah and just passed our gefilte fish to Uncle Tom (lover of ground fish stored in jelly and also the previously mentioned Irish-Catholic).
*Including one memorable Seder the semester I studied abroad in Israel, when friends and I did a reverse Exodus and celebrated in Egypt with some apple juice, chicken shawarma, french fries, and giant box of matzoh one guy dutifully carted up and down the Nile for the entire week we were there.
One staple food of every Seder at Gloria’s house were the Passover rolls, which I loved. These eggy, hollow rolls made out of matzoh meal were like Kosher popovers, and even after stuffing myself with brisket I had a hard time not polishing off the leftovers in the bread basket. I began making them every year around Passover even after Gloria and Tom moved to Arizona and I stopped attending Seders, discovering that they go equally well with leftover Easter ham or lamb.
I will be the first to admit however, that beyond my own affection for them, those rolls don’t have much to recommend them. Matzoh, generally speaking, is not something you would willingly eat on its own merits, beyond it being perfectly unleavened, and the rolls are definitely better as a vehicle for jam or sopping meat juices than they are on their own. So, of course, I started to wonder how I could improve them to make them a star in their own right. And so I decided to borrow from another Jewish holiday and deep fry the dough into cute little mini donuts.
These little donuts are damn good. They don’t puff and hollow out the way the baked rolls do, giving them a slightly fluffy interior and a crisp outside. Tossed in cinnamon sugar, they are a fantastic unleavened substitute for the little fried donuts you might find at a carnival or that I sometimes buy at Pier 39. Passover starts tonight, and these little guys would make a good addition to the Seder table or as a breakfast treat during the week. And if you happen to have a dairy Seder, just know that I dusted my test batch in white cheddar powder and they were kick ass (though I can't confirm that powder is kosher for Passover).
Makes about 2 dozen mini donuts
1 cup matzoh meal
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl, combine matzoh meal, salt, and 1/2 tsp sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
- Bring water and oil to a boil in a small sauce pan, then pour over the matzoh mixture. Stir to combine and let cool slightly, then beat in the eggs. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the dough to a piping bag and pipe 1 1/2 to 2 inch rounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Heat a couple inches of oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or cast iron pan to 375 degrees.
- When oil is hot, lift dough rounds from the parchment and carefully place in the hot oil. Fry in batches until golden on both sides, flipping halfway through, about 2-3 minutes total (they will fry quickly).
- Using a spider or a slotted spoon, transfer the donuts from the oil to a paper-towel lined plate to drain, then immediately toss in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve warm or let cool on a wire rack. Donuts are best consumed the day they are made.