Adapted from King Solomon's Table
When I visited her home in Recife, Brazil, Mathilde Steinberg's deft hands shaped a fluden (called fladen or floden in some Yiddish dialects), a fruit-layered sweet resembling baklava that is seldom seen in the United States. It is usually made with a paper-thin crust, but at Passover Mathilde uses a thick cashew-nut-matzo-meal batter with a guava-paste filling. It is a recipe she learned from a Jewish friend whose parents came from Belarus to Brazil, where they switched grape jam for guava.
Mathilde and her friends, the tradition-bearers of this community, make signature dishes with a Brazillian twist, like the fluden, by the hundreds for brises, bar mitzvahs, and weddings.
Yield: about 16 pieces
Nonstick spray for greasing pan
2 cups unsalted roasted cashews
1 cup matzo meal
1 ½ cups sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 limes, zest grated finely and ¼ cup juice reserved
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
10 ½ oz guava paste
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-by-9-inch baking dish. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, coarsely grind the cashews but do not pulverize into a powder – you want some crunch. Set aside ¼ cup of the ground cashews.
2) In a medium bowl, mix together the larger portion of the ground cashews, the matzo meal, sugar and salt. Stir in the lime zest and juice, oil, and 2 whole eggs. Put half the cake-like dough in the pan and pat it down with your hands.
3) Cut the guava paste: into long, ½-inch-thick strips and arrange on top of the dough in the pan. You should have a single packed layer of layer of guava paste. Add the remaining batter, patting it down gently with your hand.
4) Beat the egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and paint the top of the dough with it. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup ground cashews on top. Bake for 45 minutes, or until it is golden and the sides begin to pull away from the pan. Cool, then slice into roughly 2-inch squares and serve.