December 8, 2019
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Recipes Inspired by a Seder

Published May 02, 2019 • Last Updated 12:19 pm, April 30, 2019

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A couple weeks ago I attended a Passover Seder that, like most Seders, was mostly family: parents, children, cousins, nieces and nephews, with a few friends thrown in for diversity. The food was extraordinary given the fact that so many foods are not Passover-friendly, including anything leavened and most anything made with flour, plus no dairy, since it was a meat dinner, during which dairy is verboten.

I had made a pot roast with carrots and mushrooms, and a made-from-scratch gefilte fish baked in a Bundt cake pan. And there were other entrées and side dishes, including potato kugel, chicken with marmalade, pencil-thin asparagus, and broccoli gratin.

And the desserts? Just incredible, including coconut macaroons, a granola apricot bar cookie, other sweets, and Edie Freeman’s Mud Cookie.

I went home thinking about desserts and things made with oranges, because Passover is a dinner festival and nothing says delicious like chocolate and oranges. Here is the recipe for the Mud Cookies and a recipe for a dip using orange marmalade. Both are also perfect for anyone who is gluten-intolerant. The dip, made with cream cheese, was not available at the Seder—you remember, no meat and dairy at the same meal. But at another time, imagine Cream Cheese Jezebel with matzoh anytime.

Lee White of Old Lyme has been a food editor and restaurant reviewer for more than 25 years. You can email her at



Cream Cheese Jezebel

From a picnicker at Summer Music years and years ago

Yield: Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer


1 16-ounce brick of cream cheese, softened

¼ cup of orange marmalade

2 to 3 tablespoons pineapple jelly

white horseradish to taste

Wheat Thins or any other cracker


Place the brick of cream cheese in the center of a serving plate.

Stir together the orange marmalade and pineapple jelly. Begin adding the horseradish in teaspoonfuls, stirring and tasting as you go along. When it tastes spicy enough for you, pour it over the cream cheese. Surround the cream cheese with crackers and serve.

Mud Cookies

From Waterford’s Edie Freeman, who cannot remember where she got the recipe

Yield: 2 to 4 dozen cookies


4 cups pecans or walnuts

3 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar

6 tablespoons cocoa powder

4 egg whites

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place nuts in a food processor, followed by remaining ingredients and pulse until mixture is moist but not over-processed. It should look like rocks and mud. Using a teaspoon, drop the mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 to 14 minutes, depending on size, not more. Remove from the pan, cool, and place in freezer on a tray. When frozen, place in plastic freezer bags.

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