Whimsy is one of my favorite things about Modernist cuisine. When I nostalgically described my childhood seder dinners to our culinary team, two themes emerged: matzo and Manischewitz. Matzo is an incredibly humble yet important food—I like mine sandwiched with a generous portion of haroseth, which my mother made with walnuts, wine, and apples. I always looked forward to each symbolic dip and drink of Manischewitz that we would take throughout seder. But, growing up in a relatively small southern town, we didn’t have many options when it came to Passover-friendly goods and usually struggled to make it through the week despite my mother’s adept skills. I loved her apple cakes, made with matzo meal and flourless chocolate cakes, but I (very) secretly longed for something new.
When it comes to desserts, for me, good ice cream trumps all. When our head chef suggested using matzo as an ice-cream base, I knew he had stumbled upon the Passover dessert I always wanted as a kid. Here, matzo is transformed into a delicately sweet ice cream, and the sugary Manischewitz makes perfect sense as a caramel to complement the ice cream. Matzo and Manischewitz work together in a new way but still retain notes of the original ingredients, adding delightful layers of whimsy and surprise to this dessert.
—Caren Palevitz, Online Writer