matzo brei

Matzo Cheese Pancakes

Matzo Cheese Pancakes

Matzo Cheese Pancakes

People sometimes laugh at me because we are a year-round matzo family, year-round matzo-brei family.

I mean -- when something is delicious, why wait for Passover?

On the other hand, when Passover comes, I like to branch out from the usual matzo-brei breakfasts -- for instance, with pancakes like these, which are rich and holiday-festive, and also substantial enough for breakfast, lunch and even dinner. 

 

Matzo Cheese Pancakes

  • 1 cup cottage cheese

  • 1 cup dairy sour cream

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel or one tablespoon grated orange peel

  • 1/2 cup matzo cake meal

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon potato starch

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • salt to taste

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • butter for frying

In a bowl, combine the cottage cheese, sour cream, eggs, vanilla extract and lemon peel and whisk together until well blended. In a second bowl combine the cake meal, sugar, potato starch, cinnamon and salt. Spoon the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the cake meal and whisk until the batter is smooth and uniform. Fold in raisins, if used.

Heat about a tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan or griddle over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add batter by heaping tablespoonsful and cook for 1-2 minutes or so until browned on the bottom. Turn the pancakes over and cook for a minute or so on the second side or until lightly browned. Add more butter to the pan as needed to prevent sticking.

Makes about 16

Sour Cream or Applesauce?

This is the question. Sour cream or applesauce? But usually when we ask that question it's in December and we're talking about what you want on top of your potato latkes.

But this past weekend, in warm and sticky June, when the whole family came and the kids asked for matzo brei for breakfast it was the same thing.

What to put on top.

There are the sour cream lovers. And those who believe applesauce is right.

And this weekend we got a new request: maple syrup.

Maple syrup on matzo brei? 

What would my grandma think?

 

Matzo Brei

 

  • 4 squares of matzo
  • hot water
  • 3 large eggs
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • sour cream, applesauce or maple syrup(!)

 

Crumble the matzot into a bowl. Pour hot water over the pieces and let them soak for 4-5 minutes or until very soft. Squeeze as much of the water out of the pieces as possible. Add the eggs and salt to taste and stir until the mixture is evenly blended. Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the matzo mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Turn the pancake over (it's easier to cut the pancake into quarters first and turn each quarter separately). Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until crispy. Serve with sour cream, applesauce or maple syrup.

Makes 4 servings

Sweet and Fruity Matzo Brei

For kids, finding the afikomen is the most thrilling part of the Passover Seder. I can remember running through my grandma’s house searching for that half of a matzo. My cousin Leslie and I would look together. (We did everything together.) And when we found the matzo we screamed with joy and then when my Uncle Irving fit it together with the other half, we shared the prize (which I think was a piece of candy).

I remember my daughters yelling and jumping up and down with delight when it was their turn to find the afikomen.

This is the way it’s supposed to be. When the children find the half that some grownup has hidden they all shriek and shout, as you can see by the expression of utter joy shown by my grandson Zev in the first photo.

But the two pieces of matzo have to fit together. (It always does! But somehow the kids have that tiniest bit of doubt, which makes it so much fun for the grownups to watch.)

The fitting together part is my husband Ed’s task and you can see (in the other photos) that he’s pretty much thrilled with it and jokes about it with the kids. Sometimes he purposely gets out the wrong half so the afikomen won’t fit. Sometimes he pretends he’s eaten the other half. Or tries to fit it together sideways.

And so on.

Of course Passover, beyond the tradition of finding the afikomen, is all about matzo. Which suits me just fine because I think it is one of life’s most delicious foods. Fresh matzo. Crispy, toasty. Just plain, smeared with butter or cream cheese. Or topped with leftover chicken or chopped liver. Or strawberry jam. 

During Passover I use a matzo to make a crust on top of spinach pie (the same recipe I use year round with a phyllo dough crust). 

I even make toasted cheese sandwiches with matzo (place slices of cheese on top of the matzo and cook in a toaster oven). 

But the family favorite is matzo brei. For breakfast, brunch and an occasional dinner. Is there anyone who doesn’t like matzo brei?

Ed and I still argue over whether matzo brei is better soft (me) or crunchy (him). 

I think this is a common theme among matzo brei enthusiasts.

Although we usually eat plain old matzo brei, I tinker with the recipe. Of course. That’s what I do.

And although we come back to the original time after time, sometimes it’s nice to have a new version. So here is one that we liked. 

 

Sweet and Fruity Matzo Brei

4 matzos

boiling water

4 large eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

1/2 cup chopped apple

3 tablespoons raisins

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

 

Break the matzos into pieces into a bowl. Cover with boiling water for about 5-6 minutes or until soft. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Return the matzos to the bowl. Add the eggs, salt, apple, raisins, vanilla extract and lemon peel and mix thoroughly. Melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, pour the batter into the saute pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Turn and fry for another 2-3 minutes. NOTE: you can fry smaller portions instead of one large pancake. Makes 3-4 servings

 

Pearl Fein’s Crunchy Matzo Brei

Sour cream or applesauce? 
 It’s the same question two times a year. 
 On Hanukkah it’s the question of what you put on top of potato pancake. On Passover, it’s what you serve with matzo brei. 
 Of course you might be one of those people who eat matzo brei with maple syrup.  
 But really! It’s only  authentic  with sour cream or applesauce. 
 And please, no lemon-coriander-pomegranate dip. 
 For me, it’s definitely sour cream. For Ed, it’s applesauce. 
 Well, first it’s the matzo brei right? 
 I like it soft. He likes it crunchy. Here’s his mother’s recipe. 
 Pearl Fein’s Crunchy Matzo Brei 
 1-1/2 matzos 
 warm water 
 1 large egg 
 salt to taste 
 butter 
 Break the matzos into small pieces into a bowl. Cover with warm water and let it soak for 20 seconds. Drain any non-absorbed water, then squeeze the pieces to extract as much excess water as possible. Add the egg and mix the ingredients. Sprinkle to taste with salt. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the egg-matzo mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Makes one serving (but you can double, triple or even quadruple the recipe and use a bigger pan)



Sour cream or applesauce?

It’s the same question two times a year.

On Hanukkah it’s the question of what you put on top of potato pancake. On Passover, it’s what you serve with matzo brei.

Of course you might be one of those people who eat matzo brei with maple syrup. 

But really! It’s only authentic with sour cream or applesauce.

And please, no lemon-coriander-pomegranate dip.

For me, it’s definitely sour cream. For Ed, it’s applesauce.

Well, first it’s the matzo brei right?

I like it soft. He likes it crunchy. Here’s his mother’s recipe.

Pearl Fein’s Crunchy Matzo Brei

1-1/2 matzos

warm water

1 large egg

salt to taste

butter

Break the matzos into small pieces into a bowl. Cover with warm water and let it soak for 20 seconds. Drain any non-absorbed water, then squeeze the pieces to extract as much excess water as possible. Add the egg and mix the ingredients. Sprinkle to taste with salt. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and looks foamy, add the egg-matzo mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and crispy. Makes one serving (but you can double, triple or even quadruple the recipe and use a bigger pan)

Passover Potato Pancakes with Leeks, Feta Cheese and Mashed Potatoes

When is matzo brei actually a potato pancake?

When you mix them together. Like in this matzo-potato pancake which is a terrific lunch or brunch dish during Passover.

This has been one of my go-to dishes for years, after that time I wanted to use up all the matzo farfel instead of having to throw it away knowing I wouldn’t use it again when Passover was done. So I experimented using it like the soaked matzo of matzo brei and added different ingredients to see what we all liked. 

I’ve made a version of this with sauteed mushrooms. And some with plain old yellow onion. But this is the best.

Passover Potato Pancakes with Leeks, Feta Cheese and Mashed Potatoes

1 bunch leeks

2 cups matzo farfel

6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 large egg

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

vegetable oil for frying

dairy sour cream or plain, Greek style yogurt, optional

Discard the dark green portions of the leeks, then wash the leaves carefully; rinse and chop into small pieces. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, add the leek pieces, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the leeks have softened. Drain and place the leeks in a mixing bowl. Place the farfel in another bowl, cover with hot water and let soak for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Drain the farfel, squeeze it as dry as possible and add to the leeks. Add the feta cheese, mashed potatoes and egg. Mix the ingredients thoroughly to distribute them evenly. Season with salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Heat about 1/8-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Drop the farfel mixture by the heaping tablespoon into the hot fat. Flatten and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve plain or with sour cream or yogurt. Makes 4-6 servings