When I read about Ben & Jerry’s charoset-flavored Passover ice cream, I frantically looked for a place to pick up a pint; imagine a dairy-fied combination of chopped nuts, cinnamon, and apple. Ice cream has always been my dessert of choice, and Passover is one of my favorite holidays. I imagined this frozen concoction as a meltingly rich crowd-pleaser that retained but goosed the traditional flavors of Passover sweets. It would be an alternative to the canned chocolate macaroons I ate as a child during the holiday. I still remember the pop of that lid, which elicited a moment of happiness, followed by despair when my teeth sank into that waxy coconut blob.
A Passover ice cream would make keeping the holiday so much easier, bringing excitement and variety to the assortment of dessert options. I imagined it would be wildly popular in New York. So it crushed me when I found out that the choroset flavor is available only in Israel.
This fervor compelled me to speak with Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield, who confirmed my inkling that it would be popular here. “Ben & Jerry’s in the U.S. gets a lot of requests for it,” Greenfield said. Because Ben & Jerry’s in Israel is run by an independent licensee, Avi Zinger, that branch has a bit more creative freedom to roll out a limited-edition Passover flavor. Zinger also once created a chocolate matzo crunch ice cream.
At hearing the news, I began to dream of a combination of these Israeli flavors: matzo and chocolate in ice cream with chopped nuts. So I decided to develop my own concoction, using my mom’s guarded recipe for caramelized, chocolate-covered matzo with almonds, dubbed by my family as the Roca of Affliction, for the candy's its similarity to the toffee snack. (The Bible refers to matzo as the Bread of Affliction.)
Instinct would indicate that the matzo wouldn’t stand a chance in the ice cream. I thought it would either get soggy or crumble into a powdery meal. But it holds its own, delivering a chocolate crunch (that’s totally kosher) with every spoonful. Take my advice: Buy a few extra boxes of matzo this week so you can enjoy the flavor year-round.
For the Roca
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 (or 3) matzo crackers (see recipe notes)
- 10 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 roasted almonds, chopped
For the Ice Cream
- 1 2/3 cups cream
- 1 2/3 cups milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup skim milk powder
- 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract