Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The World's Best Custard Matzoh Brei?

You'll have to make it and decide for yourself if this sweet brunch or dessert version of the classic Jewish Passover favorite is really the best in the world or just the best my kids have ever tasted.

They claim it is the best and other relatives concur. My father-in-law has me make it for him even when it is not Passover and he could eat regular bread. A cousin's son made his family travel from Los Angeles to Oakland for Passover one year just so he could eat it.

Wondering what matzoh brei is? Well, it's kind of a scramble of eggs, matzoh (cracker-lie flatbreads eaten in place of leavened breads at Passover, also spelled matzo and matzah) and other ingredients.

If you grew up on a less luxurious and diet-unfriendly version or are a fan of savory matzoh brei, made without sweetener and with lots of onions and maybe a little lox, you may want to save Custard Matzoh Brei for dessert. But do give it a try. After all (in my family at least), it's the world's best.

World's Best (?) Custard Matzoh Brei
4-6 Servings

I've written about my matzoh brei before, you can see the original version here. I keep refining it. To be honest, every time I make it, I change it up, so feel free to make your own variations.

I admit this can be a very rich dish if you make it with whole milk, but you can cut some of the fat by using fat-free milk (which is what I usually do). You could also replace the eggs with egg substitute (which I don't).

10 whole matzoh
Four eggs, beaten
One-quarter to one-half cup sugar (or more or less to taste)
Two cups of whole, low fat or fat-free milk
Tsp. of vanilla extract (kosher for Passover)
2 tsp. grated orange rind (optional)
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
Grating (or dash) of nutmeg
1 Tbs. unsalted butter (or more as needed for the frying pan)
Cinnamon Sugar (optional)

Dip whole matzohs into warm water until wet on both sides. Drain well and break into small pieces in a large bowl.

In another bowl, combine sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, orange rind, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and beat to mix well.

Pour over drained matzoh. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow matzo to absorb some of the custard mixture. Stir the mixture occasionally.

Heat butter in a very large frying pan over medium heat. Add matzoh mixture and fry in butter, adding additional butter as needed. (If too much for one pan, cook in batches and keep cooked matzoh brei warm in a 250-degree oven. Be sure the matzoh brei has room to fry not steam in the pan. If you will be holding the matzo brei for any time, slightly under cook it so it won’t dry out.)

Let the matzoh brei mixture set in the hot pan for a minute or two and begin to brown, then use your spatula to break it into chunks and turn. Keep turning and breaking up the matzoh brei every one to two minutes for a few more times until the custard mixture is absorbed but the matzoh is still moist and the outside of the mixture is browned and slightly crisp.

Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired.

Serve by itself or with maple syrup, jam or other toppings.

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