This Passover, Make a Better Matzoh Pizza

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This Passover, Make a Better Matzoh Pizza


When I was a child, the prospect of going a week without bread at Passover was daunting. What would my mother prepare for me to eat? Matzoh pizza was often the answer.

Matzoh is an unleavened bread, essentially a cookie, that is eaten during the Jewish holiday to commemorate the exodus of the Jews from ancient Egypt when they left in a hurry without waiting for their bread to rise. Thus, the holiday prohibits the consumption of bread made from yeast, as well as many other baked goods. (You can still have flour in the form of matzoh and related products, as long as they are certified kosher for Passover, which is different from everyday kosher guidelines.)

Get the recipe: Pizza Matzoh

To satisfy cravings for foods we can’t eat on vacation – “chametz” is the technical term – we often try to recreate them, with varying degrees of success. Matzoh pizza is a relatively safe bet. Many people like this replacement for what it is, rather than as a replacement.

Like Matzoh Brittle, an irresistible confection of matzoh with layers of butterscotch and chocolate, Passover-friendly pizza brings back memories of family traditions and comfort food, even if it’s not something our ancestors would recognize .

Basically, matzoh pizza is simple: matzoh, tomato sauce and cheese. However, anyone who has had a soggy slab will recognize that there is room for improvement. So I decided to create a better matzoh pizza with a few small improvements, without destroying its quick and easy spirit. Here are my best tips for making matzoh pizza, grouped by component.

Matzoh. The essential matzoh is the 7-inch square. Cookbook author Leah Koenig recommends shmurah matzoh, a round option that she says holds up a little better and has the same charred flavor as Neapolitan pizza. For something more grocery-store accessible, consider savory matzoh, says chef-owner Michael Friedman of Washington’s All-Purpose Pizzeria. “It makes a huge difference.”

Driven by my son’s love of a certain delivery pizza, I decided to try some dried herbs to liven up plain matzoh. As it happens, I recently tried Jessie Sheehan’s soda bread focaccia and inspiration struck me. I modified his herb mix, replacing the oregano with thyme, and I applied a layer of olive oil to the matzoh before sprinkling it generously with a mixture that also contained matzoh powder. garlic and onion and crushed red pepper flakes. Bingo!

Was there another way to get more flavor from matzoh And provide insurance against disintegration? Everyone I spoke to agreed on the need for additional heat application beyond that of a moderate oven, although in slightly different iterations. Among the suggestions: using a pan to fry the matzoh before cooking or browning it after cooking, and simply using a very hot oven. For minimal hassle, I chose the latter option, baking the matzoh pizza for 4-5 minutes on a preheated baking sheet in a 450 degree oven. You’ll hear an instant sizzle when you place the oiled square on the pan, which is exactly what you want. I also used a quick grill (optional) – 1 minute or less – at the end to push the cheese into a bubbling, golden bliss. Just keep an eye on it to prevent burning, especially if you leave a larger border without sauce or cheese, or if you don’t oil it all the way to the edges.

The sauce. People’s individual standards may differ depending on whether you avoid certain ingredients or use only those marked kosher for Passover. So Koenig suggests being careful with your bottle of jarred marinara if you fall into the latter category. I decided to go the store bought marinara route to keep the work to a minimum. As we found in our jarred sauce taste test, brands can vary widely in consistency, and even good ones tend to be too runny for the structural integrity of the matzoh. Friedman recommends cooking marinara in jars so it thickens and spreads more than pools, which is what I did. A few minutes in a pan while the oven was preheated did the trick.

Use a light hand to avoid a soggy mess. Friedman suggested that 1/4 cup was perfect for a standard matzoh. For added assurance, Alex Levin, director of strategic business initiatives and pastry programs at Schlow Restaurant Group, flips the script by applying the cheese before the sauce, Detroit pizza style. I opted for the more traditional sauce over the cheese, but feel free to shake things up.

Cheese. Once again, humidity is the enemy. Low-moisture, shrink-wrapped mozzarella, often sold in bricks, works well. If you’re using fresh mozzarella, cut it finely and dry it, suggests Levin. I’ve found my favorite mozzarella point to be between 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese per pizza. Another melting cheese, such as Muenster or Fontina, would also work. If you want spoonfuls of fresh ricotta or goat cheese, make them small and be judicious with the quantity. Try sprinkling with parmesan after cooking for a finishing touch.

The toppings. As with most pizzas in general, the lighter the toppings, the better. This prevents the matzoh from becoming soggy and allows for a neater eating experience. Friedman says small amounts of chopped onions or peppers are worth considering. My preference: minced or thinly sliced ​​pepperoncini. If you want to use more liquid vegetables, like mushrooms or zucchini, cook them in a pan first. Or focus on add-ins you can apply after cooking, whether it’s a light drizzle of warm honey or olive oil, a shower of crushed red pepper flakes, or torn herbs, or even a modest pile of lightly dressed arugula for a salad pizza experience.

Get the recipe: Pizza Matzoh

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