Passover Dietary Restrictions

Crumble ToppingCredit: Morguefile, Image by MaxStraeten,

During the Jewish Festival of Passover we often make delicious dishes that we would not normally eat during the rest of the year. One of my family's favourites is this tasty fruit crumble. The crunchy topping is made with matzo meal, potato flour and almonds.

We observe many dietary restrictions during the eight-day festival. For example, we won't each barley, wheat, spelt, oats or rye or any leaven product. Some Jewish communities also leave out rice and pulses. 

Bread is replaced by matzo, a flat bake of flour, salt and water. Ground up matzo becomes matzo meal, which is useful if you're making pie crusts, biscuits and sponge cakes such as Plava. 

This recipe for Rhubarb and Apricot Crumble is an all-time family favourite at any time of year. The sweetness of the apricots balances the sharpness of the rhubarb. When it's not Passover it's very simple to substitute the matzo meal and potato flour for ordinary flour, or even gluten-free flour. If you don't like rhubarb almost any other fruit will do. 

Fresh RhubarbCredit: Frances Spiegel 2012A Bit about Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a vegetable and not a fruit as many of us think. I wouldn't eat it on its own, it's a bit sharp and certainly needs something sweet to go with it. Beware - too much can cause an upset stomach! 

The plant grows prolifically in England from March right through to September. At the time of writing this article (March 2014) our rhubarb is already well-established and producing long stalks. This year's crop looks like being especially good because of the recent rain in the UK. 

Beware - Poison!

The large leaves of the plant are poisonous. They cause swelling of the throat and tongue as well as extremely serious breathing problems. The edible stalks contain oxalates but not at high enough levels to cause problems. With a little sugar, agave nectar or honey, rhubarb is a good choice for crumbles and puddings.


Rhubarb and Apricot
Credit: Frances Spiegel 2010



  • 350 g/12 oz rhubarb

  • 350 g/12 oz apricots - Dried, fresh or tinned apricots can be used, but dried apricots produce a really interesting texture. If you choose dried apricots cut them into small chunks and rehydrate by soaking in hot water for two hours. Fresh or tinned apricots don't need rehydrating, just cut into small pieces.

  • 3 teaspoons clear honeyDried ApricotsCredit: Frances Spiegel 2012

  • 175 g/6 ozs Cold Water

  • 200 g/8 oz finest matzo meal

  • 100 g/4 oz potato flour

  • 50 g/2 oz ground almonds

  • One level teaspoon cinnamon

  • 125 g/5 oz butter or sunflower margarine - store the margarine in the refrigerator until ready to use

  • 75 g/3 oz Demerara sugar. Retain a small amount for sprinkling on top of the crumble 

Make Your Fruit Crumble


  1. Pre-heat oven to 190C/375F/Gas No. 5

  2. Place the fruit, honey and water in a suitably sized saucepan and cook gently for about five minutes. Turn into an oven-proof dish.

  3. Put the matzo meal, potato flour and fat into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers rub together until the mixture looks like bread crumbs.

  4. Add the brown sugar, almonds and cinnamon and spread the crumble evenly over the cooked fruit.

  5. Sprinkle the reserved sugar over the top of the crumble.

  6. Cook for approximately 25 minutes until the topping is crisp and golden brown. 

Allow the Rhubarb and Apricot Crumble to cool for five minutes before serving, perhaps with ice cream or crème fraiche. 


The Complete Passover Cookbook
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