By Annette Gentler.. When I converted to Judaism, I of course had to learn to prepare traditional Jewish dishes: gefilte fish, matzoh ball soup, kugel, cholent, etc. You’d think I would have had to give up favorite family recipes from my childhood in Germany. Not so! My German grandmother’s beloved hazelnut torte turned out to be the perfect (and easy to prepare!) Passover dessert. For every birthday during my childhood, there would be Oma’s Haselnusstorte (hazelnut cake). She lived a four-hour train ride away in Wiesbaden, and if she wasn’t visiting for my siblings’ or my birthday, the torte would arrive in the mail. She’d save the right kind of cardboard box for those parcels. Even after we had grown up, when Oma wouldn’t necessarily send it right on our birthdays, the tradition prevailed: The next time we visited her, a hazelnut torte would be waiting on her kitchen counter, glazed in glistening dark chocolate and decorated with a gummy bear per slice, or for the more grown up among us, a blanched almond.
My kids are more into piled-high American chocolate cakes for their birthdays, but Oma’s hazelnut torte has become a different tradition in our Jewish household because, since it’s flourless, it’s kosher for Passover. Read the full story.