Sure, you could eat brisket all week, or explain to your coworkers what gefilte fish is, but for the most part, all you really want to do is have a sandwich.
Out of respect for our ancestors who fled from slavery with very little provisions, and did not have time to let their bread leaven before fleeing their taskmasters, Jews do not eat sandwich bread or any leavened products during the week of Passover.
The only sandwich option we have is matzoh. Have you ever tried spreading anything on a piece of matzoh? It crumbles unless you have a very tender touch. And once you take a bite, it crumbles anyway. Sandwiches are just not in the cards during Passover. Unless, of course, you know how to make Passover rolls.
When I first started dating my husband, we went to his parents’ house for Seder. As we prepared to leave, my now mother-in-law handed all three of her boys a bag of Passover items I had never seen before. She told me that they were Passover rolls. Rolls during Passover?! I thought they were Conservative Jews! She explained that the Passover rolls were made using a Kosher for Passover (whew!) family recipe where she mixed matzoh meal (pulverized matzo that acts as flour) and lots and lots of eggs. A number of us in the family eat a gluten-free diet, so my sister-in-law uses gluten-free matzoh meal (or you can grind up gluten-free matzoh in a food processor). They are a bit flatter, but just as tasty!
Since that day of enlightenment, I have been making her recipe each year for my husband and children. And although my children complain about the Passover food choices, they will never know a Passover week without Passover rolls.
I almost feel a bit guilty serving them during Passover, knowing that my ancestors probably didn’t have time to make the rolls either. But due to modern conveniences, all it takes to make Passover rolls are a bowl, an oven, and an hour.
Passover Rolls (and a gluten-free option!)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup oil
- 2 cups matzo meal or substitute for gluten-free matzo meal
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt and 5 eggs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with silpat or grease it.
In a pot, bring the oil and water to a boil. Once boiling, add the matzo meal, sugar, and salt. Mix and remove from heat. Cool the mixture slightly. Then, add the eggs, one at at time, mixing well between eggs.
With slightly damp hands, roll the mixture into balls just smaller than a tennis ball and flatten them into a roll shape.
Because there is no leavening agent, the rolls will be the same size once they are cooked as they are when you flatten them. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes. Cool before slicing.
You can make more rolls by making smaller ones or by doubling the recipe. You can also flavor them. One sister-in-law makes three batches; one original, one sweetened with extra sugar and cinnamon, and one savory made with herbs.
My sister-in-law makes these rolls with gluten-free matzoh meal. They are not as fluffy, but they do the job!