This Passover dessert excites me! It is a far cry from your typical Passover dry sponge cakes and icy sorbets. The idea began percolating in my mind a couple of months ago, and after quite a bit of rethinking, testing, fixing, refining and retesting, I can confidently say it was well worth the effort.

Passover desserts have a bad reputation, but here’s an opportunity to change that. The mousse is non-dairy, and while everyone has their own Passover customs, I think this is doable for most.

There are a number of different elements here, but don’t let that overwhelm you. For one thing, each element uses only 2–3 ingredients. And for another, you can choose to leave out some parts.

I’ve done my best to walk you through the steps with notes about all the potential pressure points, and as always, feel free to leave your questions in the comments and I’ll help you out.

So, what is it exactly?

It’s a silky chocolate mousse, served with a chewy almond crumb, crispy meringues and fresh fruit. Oh, and it’s delicious!

The fresh fruit is just that—plain fruit. And the mint leaf garnish is optional. Which leaves you with three things to focus on: the crumb, the mousse and the meringue.

The crumb is the easiest of the three. You’re basically just mixing the ingredients like a cookie dough, but you’re looking for a slightly more crumbly texture.

Pour that out onto a baking sheet, bake for 10–12 minutes, and after it cools, crumble it gently with your hands and you’re done.

(Note: Both these pictures are of the crumb raw. It will spread and look more cookie-like after it’s baked.)

The meringue is not difficult or time-consuming, if you have mixer. A stand mixer is best, but a hand mixer will also work. You can whisk it by hand, but it will take significantly longer and a lot of elbow grease. I also have a shortcut for you with this. Instead of piping out individual mini-meringues, you can spread the mixture out and bake it as a flat sheet. Then break it into shards to use on the plate. It will taste the same and still be visually appealing.

The mousse is the most interesting element, and the hero of the dish. You probably know that water is generally chocolate’s nemesis. Get even a tiny droplet of water into your melted chocolate and it will instantly seize, becoming grainy and unsalvageable, which is what makes this recipe so surprising.

Created by Hervé This, a French chemist, the vigorous whisking in this recipe counteracts that, and you get a beautiful, creamy mousse, with pure chocolate flavor. If you’re having trouble understanding this part of the recipe, Google “Herve This chocolate mousse.” There are several videos online of people making it, and you can see how simple it actually is.

Keep in mind, the mousse is very rich, so a little goes a long way.

Last week I made this dessert for 60 people at a pre-Passover event, and it was a huge success. I hope you’ll give it a try too!

You will need:

  • 4 oranges, segmented
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • Almond crumb (recipe below)
  • Mini Swiss meringues (recipe below)
  • Chocolate mousse (recipe below)
  • Mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • Flaked sea salt (optional)

Note: You can prepare all the elements in advance. Just keep each part separate until serving.

Chewy Almond Crumb:

  • 1 cup natural almond butter, or 2 cups raw almonds
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt


  1. Use 1 cup bought almond butter, or make your own. To make 1 cup of almond butter, spread 2 cups raw almonds on a baking sheet, and bake at 350° F (180° C) for 10–15 minutes. Pour the almonds into the bowl of a food processor and run for 5–10 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides every few minutes. (Amount of time will vary, depending on the strength of your food processor.) When the almonds have formed a smooth paste, it is ready, and you can continue with the rest of the recipe.
  2. Pour the almond butter and sugar into a bowl and mix. Add the egg and the salt, and mix until the dough resembles soft crumbs. Spread the crumbs out over a cookie sheet and bake at 350° F (180° C) for 12 minutes.

    NOTE: If you end up with a ball of smooth dough, that’s okay too. Press chunks of dough down onto the pan and bake for 12–15 minutes.
  3. Mixture will spread while baking. Remove from oven and let fully cool. Then crumble and store in an airtight container until ready to use. If you want to make it more than a day or two in advance, store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Mini Swiss Meringues:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 10 tablespoons (112 grams) sugar


Your best bet for this is to use a stand mixer. You can use a hand mixer, which will take a bit longer. You could even whip by hand with a whisk, but that will take much, much longer.

  1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the mixer bowl.
  2. Fill a small pot with about an inch of water. Bring the water to a simmer, then place the mixer bowl over the pot (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Gently whisk the egg whites and sugar for about 10 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. (To check if it’s ready, rub a bit of the egg white between your fingers. If the sugar hasn’t fully dissolved, it will feel grainy.)
  3. As soon as it’s ready, take the bowl off the pot and transfer to your mixer. Beat, using the whisk attachment, until the mixture has cooled and forms stiff peaks.
  4. I piped individual mini-meringues using a piping bag and a star tip, but I have two alternatives for you, if you don’t have the equipment or aren’t comfortable with piping. A) You can spoon the mixture into a zip-top bag, seal, cut one corner off, and pipe them like that. B) You can bake the meringue as a thin sheet, then break it into rough pieces, different shapes, like shards.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Either pipe the meringues on, or spread the mixture across thinly, using a spatula.
  6. Place the baking sheet into an oven and bake at 200° F (100° C) for 90 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven for another hour or so, to finish drying out. When the meringues feel hard and dry, they are ready. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Chocolate Mousse:

  • 20 oz. (570 grams) good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups cold water
  • Ice


  1. Fill a large bowl about a third of the way with ice and a small amount of water. Set a second, smaller bowl aside. This bowl should fit comfortably in the larger bowl.
  2. Place the chocolate and the water in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, whisking occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until chocolate is fully melted and mixture is smooth.
  3. Take the pot off the stove and pour the chocolate mixture into the small bowl. Place the small bowl in the ice bath and immediately begin to whisk vigorously. Whisk for approximately 10–15 minutes, until chocolate thickens to mousse consistency. Refrigerate until serving.

Note 1: When you feel the mixture start to thicken, be careful. If you over-beat it, it will turn grainy. If that happens, don’t panic. You don’t have to throw it out, but you do have to start again. Melt the mixture back down to a liquid and go through the steps again.

Note 2: It’s a lot of whisking, and your arm might well get tired. You can share the job around the kitchen with whoever else is around. If they want mousse, they gotta work for it! If you can’t manage to get it to the right consistency, you can still use it. Refrigerate, and it will thicken in the fridge. It will just be more of a ganache than a mousse. You can also try using a hand mixer for the first few minutes, and then switch to the whisk when it starts to thicken.

Note 3: Use good quality chocolate or chocolate chips for this recipe, since it is the primary flavor. You don’t want to use baking chocolate, but the kind of chocolate you would eat. I’ve done it with 72%, 55% and 45% chocolate. The 72% is probably too bittersweet for most people’s tastes, so I suggest going with a slightly lower option. I recently made this for an event and I used the 45%, which went over very well.

Note 4: You can halve this recipe, but do not go less than that.

To assemble:

  1. Place about 2–3 tbsp. almond crumb on each plate.
  2. Use an ice cream scoop to shape the mousse. Dip the scoop into warm water between each scoop.
  3. Place the mousse on top of the almond crumb, and now add the fresh fruit, meringues and mint leaf garnish. Sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt over the mousse, and enjoy!

Note: You could also serve this in a cup. Crumb on the bottom, then mousse, then fresh fruit and meringue.

Yields: Approximately 20 servings.