Serves a Crowd
Matzo Fritters for Passover Dessert (Grimsele)
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 8 or more
Grimsele (grim-sah-la) are a uniquely German-Jewish dessert for Passover, the 8-day holiday during which bread and all leavened foods are forbidden. These fried matzo-based fritters have a wonderfully crispy exterior, while the tender interior is dotted with little surprise bites of blanched almonds and raisins, a lovely mix of textures and flavors (though you can easily make these nut-free, or substitute other dried fruits). This is the recipe my Oma made to finish the seder meal every year, and it's included in the book I co-authored with Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman, "The German-Jewish Cookbook: Recipes & History of a Cuisine", 2017, Brandeis University Press.
As with most fried foods, they are ideally eaten immediately after frying while still hot! However, when serving a large number of people at a Passover seder, when the logistics of frying so many fritters at the last minute would be overwhelming, they can certainly be made ahead and kept warm in a low oven. Some people serve these fritters as a light lunch, or even dinner, during the week of Pesach. In addition to traditional German-Jewish sauces, either raspberry or wine, they can be served with any type of fruit jam, or simply with a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar. This recipe can easily be divided to make a smaller amount. This recipe is kosher (parve). —sonya gropman
box of matzo
large eggs, lightly beaten
blanched almonds, chopped
golden or black raisins
grated zest of 1 lemon, preferably organic
neutral-flavored oil, such as sunflower or safflower, for frying
confectioners' sugar, for serving (optional)
raspberry sauce, wine sauce, or any fruit jam, for serving (optional)
- Crumble the matzo into bite-size pieces in a large, heat-proof bowl. Pour warm water over the matzo to cover. Let sit for 10 minutes, or until soft.
- Place a large colander in the sink and turn out the matzo into it. Press down with your hands, or with a small plate placed directly on top of the matzo, to drain out as much of the water as possible. Transfer the matzo to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs, granulated sugar, almonds, raisins, lemon zest, and nutmeg to the matzo and mix to incorporate.
- Heat a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour ¼ inch of oil into the pan and heat until the oil is hot (test the temperature of the oil by adding a pea-size pinch of mixture to the pan – if it sizzles, the oil is hot enough).
- Shape into fritters by pressing some of the mixture between 2 tablespoons and then slipping it into the hot oil. Repeat with as many fritters as will fit in the pan. Fry the fritters over medium-high heat until golden brown on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. If the fritters are getting too dark, decrease the heat to medium. Turn the fritters over and fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes on the second side, or until golden. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Continue frying the fritters in batches until all the matzo mixture is used, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
- Eat hot. It’s best to eat immediately, but the fritters can be kept hot in a low over until you are ready to serve them. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, and serve with your choice of accompaniments.
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