Like many bakers, I have recipes that I reserve for certain holidays. As my children gobble up rugelach during Hanukkah, they wonder why I never make these delicious cookies in January or May. After enjoying buttery slices of Irish soda bread on St.Patrick's Day, my husband tells me I really should put his favorite quick bread into the regular rotation.
I can't say I ever got the same enthusiastic response to the marble sponge cake I used to make for Passover, which begins at sundown Friday. While my relatives looked forward to enjoying family favorites like chopped liver and gefilte fish, they spoke about my bland and dry-as-dust cake, when they mentioned it at all, with resignation, even dread.
Once I realized that the supermarket marshmallow twists and jelly rings were more popular than my cake, I changed course.
Instead of baking unexciting, if traditional, Passover cakes, I looked for flourless desserts so good they are enjoyed year-round by diners of every faith. I've found inspiration from around the world. My Passover Pavlova, based on a dessert invented by a New Zealand chef in honor of the great ballet dancer, is a crisp-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside meringue disk filled with lemon sorbet and topped with macerated strawberries. And cobbler makes use of frozen fruit now and fresh later in the summer.