Immersive Ten Plagues Seder Menu: Plagues 9 & 10 – Darkness & Death of the Firstborn
Prep time: 35-50 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins | Cooling time: 1-2 hours
Our final conversation starter. How does one talk about the plagues of Darkness and Death of the Firstborn whilst offering guests a sweet treat? The Darkness that paralysed the Egyptians, also served as a lifeline for the Jews to get ready to leave Egypt. The start of our fruitful journey, it is represented with a simple and sweet dark fruit salad.
But how, when we do not rejoice in the suffering of our enemies, do we represent Death of the Firstborns through dessert? Rather than focusing on the loss of life, we chose instead to celebrate the coming together of the Israelites. The gluten free chocolate brownie in this dessert represents the doorposts of the Jews in Egypt. The strawberry coulis ‘blood’ on the plate is symbolic of the blood of the Paschal Lamb on the doorposts of our ancestors’ homes, which spared us from the devastation as God “passed over”.
Plague 9: Darkness
Dark Fruit Salad
Prep time: 5 mins
The simplest of all our dishes, the plague of darkness is represented by dark fruits. We have opted for black grapes and blueberries, but you could use any fruits of your choice. Place a few pieces of washed fresh fruit on each plate, or alternatively serve as a dark fruit salad in a black bowl, if you have one.
Plague 10: Death of the Firstborn
‘Queen of Sheba’ Chocolate Mousse Cake & Strawberry Coulis
Prep time: 30-45 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins | Cooling time: 1-2 hours
Our chocolate ‘doors’ will hopefully open the way to discussions about the blood of the Paschal Lamb, anointed by the Israelites onto their doors, in order for the Angel of Death to ‘pass over’ their homes (and how the festival got its name), saving their firstborns from the 10th plague that smote Egypt.
While we commemorate this every year at Passover, Jewish homes also have a mezuzah, a small scroll affixed to their doorposts, containing the Shema prayer that not only symbolises and demarkates a Jewish home, but it is a constant reminder of this very moment: the time God saved the Israelites and took them out of Egypt, sparing our firstborns.
For the Cake:
- 200g (approx 1 cup)
Parev Cooking Chocolate
- 125g (½ cup) Caster sugar
- 125g (½ cup) Margarine
- 80g (¾ cup) Ground Almonds
- 60g (½ cup) Potato Starch
- 3 large Eggs (Separate yolks and whites)
For the coulis:
- 350g Strawberries cleaned, tops removed and chopped into quarters
- 50g (¼ cup) Sugar
- ¼ tsp Lemon Juice
- 80ml (⅓ cup) Hot Water
For the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 190°C / 170°C fan (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F)
- Break up chocolate and dice margarine. Melt together in a bain marie.
- Take the egg yolks only and beat together with the sugar until light and creamy (resembling a mousse). An electric whisk or stand mixer makes this process much faster, if you have one!
- Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
- Mix the melted chocolate and margarine into the egg yolks and sugar mixture and add the almond and potato starch little by little, stirring constantly with a spatula.
- Then very gently fold in the egg whites, being careful not to overwork or knock too much air out of the batter.
- Grease a rectangular cake tin or a foil tray (8″ x 10″ / 9″ x 9″) with margarine, and transfer the batter into the tin, again being careful not to knock too much air out.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through (test with a toothpick or skewer – it should come out mostly clean).
- Allow cake to cool in its tin, on a cooling rack or trivet for an hour.
- This cake can be prepared in advance and freezes well, though it will also keep fresh and moist for several days in foil or an airtight container at room temperature.
- When ready to serve, cut into small rectangles and plate with coulis and fruit.
For the Coulis
- Clean and remove the tops from 350g strawberries and chop into quarters.
- Add to a pan with 50g sugar and ¼ tsp lemon juice and reduce over a medium heat for 15min, stirring occasionally.
- Add 80ml (⅓ cup) of hot water.
- Mix and continue to simmer down for 5 mins.
- Remove the mix from the heat, strain through a fine sieve and leave to cool for an hour.
- You’ll want to leave the mixture in the sieve to strain for a while, then use the back of a spoon to push more through the strainer to get the most out of the mixture.
- This can be plated at room temperature once cooled, or made in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two days.
Photo credit: Sophy Weiss Photography