Purim & 4 Parshiyot

Stand Out This Purim with Chocolate-Free Desserts

February 16, 2012
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Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.

Oh, the Purim dilemmas we face. No, it’s not what flavor hamantashen (triangular, filled pastry) to eat but what to put into those mishloach manot, food parcels, to be delivered ASAP.

Cookies, fruit and chocolate? Chips, pretzels and chocolate? Nuts, cheese, crackers and chocolate? An electrical appliance (absolutely not) and chocolate? Well, obviously, my choice would always include chocolate. But, as one friendly reader recently pointed out, not everyone likes (heretic) or can tolerate (poor baby) chocolate in his or her diet.

I realize now how taste-centric I have been and would like to apologize to those who don’t care for anything that comes from the cocoa bean…by coming up with luscious non-chocolate (you have no idea how hard it was to type that) desserts for your friends, family, teachers, neighbors or mom, dad, in-law, outlaw or anyone else you want to impress on Purim. These desserts are guaranteed to make everyone clamor to be on your delivery route.

Note: White chocolate is NOT chocolate; it’s a candy with no cocoa in it.

Almond Apricot Cheesecake (dairy)

12 to 14 servings



  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup slivered almonds, coarsely ground
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup margarine, melted


  • 4 oz. dried apricots
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. dairy sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In medium bowl, combine all crust ingredients; mix well. Press mixture in bottom and 2 inches up the sides of 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  3. In medium saucepan, combine apricots and ½ cup water. Cook covered over low heat for 15 minutes or until apricots are tender. Stir in ½ cup sugar.  Puree in blender container or food processor bowl with metal blade. Blend until mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat together sugar, cream cheese, sour cream and almond extract. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  5. Blend 1 cup cream cheese mixture with apricot puree. Pour remaining cream cheese mixture into pan. Carefully drop spoonfuls of apricot mixture randomly over cream cheese. Pull knife through batter in wide curves; turn pan and repeat for swirl effect.
  6. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until center is set. (To minimize cracking, place a shallow pan half full of hot water on lower oven rack during baking.) Cool to room temperature on cooling rack. Carefully remove sides of pan.
  7. Cover; refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving.

Modified from smittenkitten.com.

Raspberry Cake (dairy)

14 to 16 servings


  • ¼ lb. white chocolate chips
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup raspberry preserves, heated
  • 2 to 3 cups sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and set them aside. In a double boiler melt the white chocolate chips. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Slowly add the melted chocolate until completely combined. Continue beating and add the eggs, one at a time and then add the sugar, then the flour. Pour in the batter in the prepared pans.
  2. Gently drop teaspoons of the warm preserves on the top of the cakes and then swirl it with a toothpick. Make sure to swirl only slightly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Once the cake is cooked cool completely before removing them to a cooling rack.
  3. To serve, place one cake on a cake plate, top with ½ the whipped cream and 1 pint of raspberries. Place the 2nd cake on top. Top with remaining whipped cream and berries.

Serve immediately.

From my files, source unknown.

Cherry White Chocolate Scones (dairy)

8 to 9 servings


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • ½ dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 oz. white chocolate chips or bar cut into pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the cream, egg, and vanilla. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and knead until combined. Knead in the white chocolate and cherries.
  3. With lightly floured hands, pat the dough out on a floured work surface to a thickness of 5/8 inch. Cut circles in the dough with a cookie cutter. Gather the scraps of dough together and repeat till all the dough is used.
  4. Bake scones on ungreased baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. Place baking sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer scones to wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Modified from a recipe from bbonline.com.

Berry Trifle (dairy)

14 servings


  • 1½ cups cold milk
  • 1 package (1 oz.) vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) vanilla yogurt
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, cubed
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping
  • 1 ready-made angel food cake, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup each sliced strawberries, raspberries and blueberries


  1. In a small bowl, combine the milk and pudding. Whisk together and let set. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream and vanilla and mix until smooth. Fold in the pudding and 1 cup whipping cream.
  2. Place a third of the cake cubes in a trifle bowl. Top with a third of the pudding mixture, a third of the berries and half of the remaining whipped topping. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining cake, pudding and berries. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Modified from a recipe by Brenda Paine  of North Syracuse, NY.

Lemon Bars (dairy or pareve)



  • ½ lb. butter or margarine, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt

Lemon layer:

  • 6 jumbo eggs at room temperature
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9X13 baking pan.
  2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed.
  3. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into the greased baking sheet, building up a ½-inch edge on all sides. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  4. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
  5. For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour.
  6. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or about five minutes beyond the point where the filling is set.
  7. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into rectangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

Super Easy Banana Blueberry Pie (dairy)

16 servings (2 pies)


  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups sweetened whipped cream
  • 4 firm bananas, (2 for each pie), sliced
  • 2 cooked pie shells
  • 1 (21 oz.) can blueberry pie filling
  • Extra bananas and sweetened whipped cream for garnish


  1. In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and sugars and beat until smooth. Fold in the whipped cream and chopped bananas by hand.
  2. Spoon the mixture into the baked pie crusts. Spread the blueberry pie filling.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  4. Garnish with additional whipped cream and bananas.

From my files, source unknown.

Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.