(New York Jewish Week) — If you are preparing a Passover seder, you know the drill: roast the shankbone, burn the egg, chop the charoset, prepare the salt water, rinse the bitter herbs. All that, and we haven’t even started on the brisket, the matzah ball soup and the side dishes (which, in my household, always include roast beets, cucumber salad and coleslaw).
By the time your weary arms and legs have trudged to the final course — dessert — you may be ready to call it a day. So why not take a load off and buy a delicious Passover dessert instead of making one yourself? Plus, let’s face it: Dessert is an easy item for guests to bring to a seder — your friends or family members will feel like they contributed something, and they did!
But here’s the rub: Many Jewish bakeries close down for Passover. “Too much to clean,” explained Elan Kornblum of Great Kosher Restaurants Media Group.
But fear not — in this great city of ours, which is home to some 1.5 million Jews, we are never out of options. Firstly, there’s a wide and creative selection of gluten-free and flourless cakes that can be found at bakeries across the city, both Jewish and not, like Magnolia Bakery’s delectable flourless chocolate cake.
Such treats, however — even if they contain no hametz, or leavened ingredients — are usually not certified kosher for Passover, because if you think it is hard to clean your own kitchen of all leavened products, imagine the yeoman’s task it would take to clean and/or replace all items in a commercial bakery.
But even if you are strictly observant, all is not lost. Delicious and certified kosher for Passover desserts are available all across town, particularly at kosher food markets. Some of these specialty shops bake their own treats, others source their desserts from wholesale companies — either way, there’s no shortage of tasty options. Thanks to the increased use of nut and coconut flours, kosher for Passover desserts are no longer limited to tinned macaroons or sawdust-adjacent sponge cake — options today range from lemon meringue pie to apple macaroon cake and more.
Whether you’re hosting a Passover seder this year or attending one as a guest, here are nine of our favorite spots to buy kosher for Passover desserts. Liberation never tasted so sweet!
Borough Park, Brooklyn
Breadberry is an online shop as well as a brick and mortar store at 1689 60th St. in Borough Park that can satisfy all of your Passover needs, from the savory to the sweet. All of their kosher for Passover catering food is delivered frozen. Their almond butter brownies come in a 9-inch by 13-inch tin ($75), and lots of chocolate treats abound, from mousse cakes to kokosh, a dense version of babka ($60).
Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Bryant Park and Union Square
Breads’ selection of Passover pastries sound almost too good to be true — especially for a holiday that’s not typically known for desserts. This year, the popular bakery has a flourless coconut cake studded with chocolate ($15.95), a choice of coconut, raspberry and almond macaroons (10 for $10.95) as well as a flourless cheesecake that serves 6 to 8 ($42.25). And if you are still hungry — or if you’d like some assistance with the rest of that holiday meal — you can also purchase gefilte fish, haroset and different types of matzah brei.
3. Eli’s Market
Multiple locations in Midtown and the Upper East Side
At this popular New York mini-chain, run by Eli Zabar of the famous Zabar’s family, choose from a long list of sweet and flourless treats, including a Mile-High Lemon Meringue Cake that serves 14 to 16 ($150) and a chocolate sponge cake with chocolate ganache ($32). You can pick up poached pears or baked apples, too ($10 each). Order online, by phone or shop IRL in one of Eli’s several Manhattan locations.
Upper West Side
You can find the to-be-expected selection of boxed macaroons, jelly rolls, chocolate chip cookies and rugelach at KMP (2442 Broadway) as well as sugar-free kosher for Passover marble cakes and cookies. But these aren’t your typical Manischewitz fare — not that there’s anything wrong with those! The Kosher Marketplace’s desserts come from Zemer Bakery, Butterflake Bakery and World of Chantilly; prices range from $15 to $30. The market is also selling their house-made double chocolate mousse ($11.99 for 12 ounces).
Lower East Side and Upper East Side
At this Israeli-style bakery, which recently opened a second location on the Upper East Side (401 East 90th St.), baker/owner Adir Michael is preparing luscious takes on the usual Passover treats. On offer are coconut or peanut macaroons, chocolate-covered matzah, meringue roulade, chocolate-covered alfajores (a Latin American stuffed cookie) as well as Passover eggs, a flourless dough filled with nutella and dark chocolate. Prices range from $15 to $35.
Upper West Side
This gluten-free and kosher bakery and restaurant at 472 Columbus Ave. has a selection of packaged baked goods that are certified kosher for Passover. Choose from a carrot pineapple cake ($30), grain-free berry or banana muffins (6 for $30) and chocolate or vanilla macaroons (6 for $24). In a fun twist, they’re also offering a kosher for Passover pizza crust (made from cassava flour, parmesan, mozzarella and cheddar cheese; 2 crusts for $18) that you can top yourself. Order in advance for shipping or pickup; shipping orders must be placed by April 12.
Upper East Side
This Upper East Side kosher butcher at 1733 First Ave. has its own craft bakery, and their bakers are preparing a wide selection of cakes, pies and cookies for Passover this year — including apple and blueberry tarts ( 8-inch tart for $34.98), cherry crumb pie ($27.98) and rainbow cookies ($22.98 a pound). If you’re feeling ambitious and want to bake your own dessert, you can also pick up coconut flour, almond flour and kosher for Passover cake meal from their street level shop or online.
If you can’t go to Israel this Passover, a trip to Pomegranate at 1507 Coney Island Ave. may be the next best thing. Here, in addition to fresh kosher meat, fish and prepared foods, you can buy kosher for Passover cakes from just about everywhere, including World Of Chantilly (Raspberry Jelly Roll or Cappuccino Bar, $19.99), Oberlander (Shadow Layer Cake or Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake, $25.99 each), Osem (Gluten-Free Walnut Cake, $3.99), Schick’s Caramel Seven Layer Cake ($15.19), Geffen and Manischewitz cake mixes ($5 to $7.50) plus all the ingredients you need if you want to bake your own Passover desserts. You can place the order online and pick it up at the store in Coney Island.
Upper East Side
Uptown bakery William Greenberg (1100 Madison Ave.) has a relatively extensive menu of Passover desserts. (Take note: While their offerings consist of only kosher for Passover ingredients, the bakery doesn’t change its baking pans for the holiday, so they are not kosher certified.) Their selection of Passover desserts includes flourless black & white cookies ($49.50 for a gift box of 18 mini cookies), flourless brownies ($3.50 each) — with or without pecans — or a Special Walnut Torte ($36 for a 6-inch cake, $58 for an 8-inch version), made with freshly whipped cream and walnut-studded sponge cake.