Efrat Libfroind is the author of Kosher Ele­gance. She will be post­ing all week for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and MyJew­ish­Learn­ings author blog­ging series.

Being a full-time mom and also a full time pro­fes­sion­al chef and pas­try chef is well…extraordinary. I have 6 kids and I have built an active busi­ness which focus­es on teach­ing cook­ing, bak­ing and now…a cookbook.

I am, of course, the mom who makes the fan­cy cakes for all my kids’ school and birth­day par­ties. And when my daugh­ters have a par­ty with some friends I always find myself vol­un­teered” to make the desert. Some­times they leave it up to me what to make but always say Mom, choose what you want to make, just as long as it has at least 4 layers….”

I find it very adorable when my kids’ friends come over to our house to play. Some­how, they often seem to find their way to the kitchen and watch me doing my thing with big eyes. My kids show off a bit and then always find a way to share the good­ies. In Israeli Ortho­dox cir­cles (and some Amer­i­can as well) my name has become known” since I often write in mag­a­zines and hun­dreds of women have tak­en my cours­es. I think my old­er kids enjoy this. When peo­ple ask their names, they increas­ing­ly get the are you the child of…?” treat­ment. Then the next ques­tion is always So how come are you so thin?”

My kids always seem to know more about food than any­one their age. Recent­ly my daugh­ter in nurs­ery school jumped into a class dis­cus­sion on choco­late say­ing that her favorite is Ganache with choco­late liqueur. When the teacher asked her to elab­o­rate my daugh­ter told her just call my Mom, she is good at it.” Of course, my kids know all the cuts of meat and the names of the lat­est & hippest fish that every­one is eat­ing now. I must smile since I couldn’t even make an omelet when I got married.

Shab­bat and hol­i­day meals are real­ly a high­light for my fam­i­ly. My fam­i­ly are my guinea pigs and they know (and love) it. This is when I try out every­thing, all my culi­nary exper­i­ments. So I roll out all the new recipes and dec­o­ra­tions I am try­ing. It is always a big cel­e­bra­tion. It is nice to have guests dur­ing these meals, because they usu­al­ly love it as well, and I think it makes my kids feel great to see the reac­tions. The only prob­lem is that we don’t get invit­ed out all that often. Some have told me that hav­ing me eat their food makes them feel pres­sured or judged since I am a chef. They have obvi­ous­ly not heard the pearl of wis­dom that every­thing tastes great when made by some­one else”.

So my career is impor­tant – no ques­tion about it. I teach, I write, I cook non-stop but my fam­i­ly and hus­band come first. If I can com­bine the two…that is a real plus. So con­sid­er­ing how involved my fam­i­ly is with my food…I may be succeeding.


Makes approx­i­mate­ly 2 cups

Ganache is a fun­da­men­tal ingre­di­ent in many petits fours, minia­tures, and desserts. It can be used as a liq­uid or sol­id. When prepar­ing ganache it will first be liq­uid, and after cool­ing at room tem­per­a­ture (not in the fridge!) it will solid­i­fy. Liq­uid ganache is used to fill sil­i­cone molds to form com­po­nents of petits fours. Sol­id ganache is used for dec­o­rat­ing desserts and as a glue to con­nect var­i­ous parts.

My pro­fes­sion­al secret for mak­ing per­fect ganache is to add mar­garine to choco­late in a 1 to 10 ratio. The mar­garine makes the ganache glossier as well as eas­i­er to work with.


10 1/2 ounces pareve bit­ter­sweet chocolate

2 table­spoons margarine

1 8‑ounce con­tain­er Rich’s Whip

3 table­spoons good-qual­i­ty liqueur

Ganache seashells

Makes 20 shells

1 recipe ganache

2 table­spoons rolled fon­dant (avail­able at spe­cial­ty bak­ing stores)

Basic ganache: Melt choco­late and mar­garine in microwave. Add Rich­Whip and beat with a hand­held whisk until a smooth, shiny cream forms. Add liqueur. If ganache hard­ens while you’re work­ing with it, return it to microwave to remelt it.

Ganache seashells: Use Pavoni-brand molds, mod­el xp006. Fill molds while ganache is still liq­uid. Freeze for 1 hour and release from molds. Shape fon­dant into pearl-sized balls. Con­nect the back edges of two seashells with a drop of ganache and place a fon­dant pearl inside the open­ing of the dou­ble shell.

Tip: If you want an espe­cial­ly firm ganache that will hold up for a few hours out of the fridge, increase the choco­late in the recipe by 20 percent.

Come back all week to read sto­ries and recipes from Efrat Libfroind. Her new book, Kosher Ele­gance, is now available.