This recipe is so darn easy you can make it on your lunch break. Trust me, I did it today. At 10:43 a.m. this morning, Emmita called me and said “I have a challenge for you my friend: matzah. It’s Passover!” Oooo-eee! You know I love a good challenge, especially when it lends to unearthing the stories close to my heart.
You see, I’m not a very good Jew. By Jewish standards, in fact, I’m not Jewish at all since my mother bears no Jewish heritage. My father however was raised Orthodox Jewish; his family adhered to a strict Kosher diet. Even after many curious meals in my grandfather’s home in Liverpool, England, this striking tidbit somehow slipped under my nose. I recall a few sporadic weeks at Jewish day camp as a child, and of course there were the spontaneous Passovers where Mamma would try earnestly to guide us through the little booklet one reads at this holiday, when all we wanted to do is dip our spoons into her famous matzah ball soup. For an Italian cook, her Jewish food was to die for.
My gorgeous husband is also Jewish, but he plain forgot it was Passover! (Although, I know he will be very proud of my batch of matzah, and the inevitable tweak in flavor I can never seem to keep at bay).
Emmita could have stopped at the word “challenge” and she would have had me convinced. But it was her father’s reports on his own batch of matzah that sent me over the edge: Slather with butter when it comes out of the oven and close your eyes. Say “ah” and then sleep for twenty years. Upon waking up, say “more” and then go back to sleep, after which upon waking again you can die happy.
With a bit of creativity, you can jazz up your matzah, just leave out the leavening – this bread don’t rise honey! Try an Italian-inspired matzoh with rosemary, oregano and thyme.
More passover recipes:
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- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1.5 teaspoons toasted, ground coriander
- 1.5 teaspoons toasted, ground fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons coconut shreds
- 1/4 teaspoon, ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 500F. Depending on whether you are using a baking sheet or pizza stone, place these in the oven as well so they heat before baking the matzah.
- In a food processor or large bowl, combine the flour, salt, olive oil and optional seasoning. Pulse until the ingredients are combined. (You can also do this in a bowl, stirring with a fork).
- Add the water a bit at a time until the dough begins to form a ball. (You can also do this in a bowl, stirring with a spatula). When the dough comes together, transfer it to a clean surface that has been lightly dusted with flour.
- Divide the dough into 12 small balls.
- Roll out each ball very thinly, and then prick the dough with a fork to form a gridlock pattern.
- Remove the very hot baking sheet or pizza stone from the oven. Place the matzoh on the baking sheet or pizza stone. Bake for 2-3 minutes and then remove the matzah from the oven. Flip the matzah with a spatula and continue baking for 2-3 minutes. The matzaoh should be browned around the edges and spots of brown on the surface where it was touching the baking surface.
- Remove the matzoh to a rack and let it cool, or serve immediately warm with a big hunk of butter!
Not all ovens are created equal. It's important to know whether you have a conventional or convection oven. Unlike conventional ovens, which cook food by surrounding it with hot air, convection ovens circulate the air, resulting in different temperature settings. I use this oven thermometer to ensure my matzah is baked at the right temp.