Baltimore’s Young Adults Share Their Secret Passover Recipes

Celebrate Passover with some traditional recipes and a few unique adaptations on the classics. From brisket to chocolate-matzah layer cake, these will have your Seder buzzing and your appetite covered for the rest of the week.

Adam Yosim’s Atlanta Brisket

Makes 10 to 12 Servings


  • 5 lbs fresh beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 bottles (16 ½ oz. each) Coca-Cola (not Diet Coke)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tsp.. vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Coca-Cola marinade, reserved from above
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix (from a 2-oz. package)
  • 1 can (8 oz.) salt-free tomato sauce
  • ½ cup tomato ketchup
  • 3 large yellow onions, halved lengthwise and each half sliced about 3/8 in. thick
  • 3 large whole bay leaves (preferably fresh)


  1. Place brisket in large nonreactive roaster with snug-fitting lid (best to use one measuring 15 ½ in. long, 12 in. wide and 4 in. deep). Pour Coca-Cola evenly over brisket, cover and refrigerate 24 hours, turning brisket once or twice in Coca-Cola marinade.
  2. When ready to proceed, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lift brisket from roaster and pat dry. Line large fine sieve with coffee filter and set over medium-size bowl. Pour in Coca-Cola marinade and let drip through.
  3. Rub brisket well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in very large (15 in.) heavy skillet about 1 minute over high heat until ripples appear on pan bottom. Add brisket and brown 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Return brisket to roaster, now rinsed and dried.
  4. For Gravy: Combine 2 cups filtered Coca-Cola marinade, soup mix, tomato sauce and ketchup and pour over brisket. Scatter sliced onions on top and drop in bay leaves. Note: If you use fresh bay leaves, crinkle them a bit as you drop them into the roaster to release their flavor.
  5. Cover roaster, slide into lower third of oven, and braise brisket 4 hours. Check roaster at half time and if liquid seems skimpy add a little more filtered Coca-Cola marinade, or beef broth, or water.
  6. Remove roaster from oven and set on trivet on counter. Remove lid and cool brisket at least 30 minutes to allow juices to settle and meat to firm up. Discard bay leaves and remaining Coca-Cola marinade.
  7. To serve, lift brisket to cutting board and slice about ¼ in. thick—across the grain and slightly on the bias. Overlap brisket slices on large platter and smother with pan gravy and onions.


Jordan Halle’s Braised Lamb Shank


  • 1-1¼ lb. lamb shank                     
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 3 medium shallots, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 7 sprigs thyme, divided
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup schmaltz
  • ½ tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 14 ½ oz. can whole peeled tomatoes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season lamb with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat canola oil in ovenproof pot over medium-high. Cook lamb, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook shallots and garlic until shallots are softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook until heated through and darkened in color (2 minutes).
  4. Add wine, scraping up browned bits and bring to simmer.
  5. Add stock, bay leaves, 2 thyme sprigs and lamb shank; return to simmer.
  6. Cover, transfer to oven and braise, turning lamb occasionally until meat is falling off bone. 350 for 1 hour, lower to 275 and finish for 3 hours.
  7. Meanwhile, tie 5 thyme sprigs into a bundle.
  8. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onions and thyme, season with salt.
  9. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are golden brown (25 to 30 mins).
  10. Remove thyme bundle and discard. Finely chop onion and set aside.
  11. Transfer lamb to a cutting board to cool. Strain braising liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Discard thyme and bay leaves, reserve liquids and solids. Wipe out pot.
  12. Crush tomatoes in the pot. Add braising liquid and solids and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and sauce is thickened and slightly chunky, 25 to 35 mins. Stir in schmaltz and vinegar, season with S&P.


Jake Lieberman and Jenifer Arman’s Chocolate-Matzo Layer Cake

Recipe adapted from Traditional Jewish Baking, by Carine Gore 

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling and overnight chilling time

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes, plus cooling and overnight chilling time


  • 1¾ cups (11 oz.) chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 1 cup warm coffee
  • 5 matzo sheets


  1. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the dark chocolate with 1¼ cups of the heavy cream. Heat on high in the microwave oven until melted—2 to 3 minutes—then whisk to a homogenous cream. Let cool to room temperature. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for the frosting.
  2. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the remaining ¾ cup of heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold into the chocolate mixture until incorporated.
  3. Pour the coffee into a wide, flat tray. Dip each matzo sheet in the coffee for 30 seconds per side.
  4. Arrange a layer of coffee-soaked matzo on the bottom of a serving tray and top with a quarter of the chocolate mousse. Repeat until you have layered all of the matzo and chocolate mousse, ending with a top layer of matzo. Cover the top layer of matzo with the reserved chocolate frosting.
  5. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to let the chocolate set and the matzo soften. The next day, cut into squares and serve cold.


Chavi Abramson’s Popcorn Cauliflower


  • 2 bags of frozen cauliflower
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 6-8 tbls. olive oil


1. Mix all ingredients and bake uncovered on 450 degrees for about 35 minutes.


Erika Rief Hornstein’s Baked Gefilte Fish


  • Rokeach Old Vienna Gefilte Fish – 1 large can (14 pieces) drained
  • 2 tbsp. chopped carrots
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tbsp. minced onions
  • 1 ¼ cup matzo meal
  • ¾ cup mayo
  • 1 tps. old bay (or black pepper)
  • Paprika
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • toothpicks


  1. Use mix master to combine the following (in this order) Gefilte fish – mix well, eggs, carrots, onion – mix well, mayo – mix well, matzo meal
  2. Spray pam on 9 x 13 x 2 disposable baking pan
  3. Pour fish in, spread evenly across pan
  4. Sprinkle paprika on top to give it a slight brown-ish/red-ish color
  5. Swirl fork around top of pan to give the top a texture
  6. Put in oven at 350 for 75 minutes
  7. After removing pan from oven, let fish cool completely and store in refrigerator until ready to plate
  8. When ready to serve, cut into squares
  9. Plating: Place the following on plate in order – piece of lettuce, square of gefilte fish, slice of cucumber, half of cherry tomato. Secure all with toothpick.

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