March 22, 2013

Apple and Date Charoset for Passover

Passover, Sephardic

In my opinion, one of the best components of the Passover meal is the Charoset. Meant to represent the mortar (mud for the bricks) that the enslaved Hebrews used to build the pyramids of Egypt, charoset is a sweet and delicious treat. There are two different schools of tradition when making charoset, Sephardi and Ashkenazi. The Sephardi, Jews from the Middle Eastern, North African, Iberian Peninsula, and Asia Minor, make their charoset mainly with dates, raisins, and nuts. It is a true paste to represent the 'mortar', but also happens to be almost too sweet. The Ashkenazi, Jews mainly from European Countries, make their charoset with a base of Apples, nuts, and honey.

As I really like both charoset styles, I have been making both for the past few years as it is fun to have different things to try on the table. This year I created a hybrid of sorts by omitting the raisins, reducing the dates, and increasing the number of apples in my Sephardi recipe. It has a brighter flavor, but is still thick enough to shape into pyramids for the Sedar plate which is something I like to do.

The best way to eat charoset is by making a Hillel sandwich. Make the sandwich by smearing the charoset onto a piece of matzo with a topping of horseradish on the corner. The horseradish or bitter herb, represents the tears of the Hebrews during their slavery. It is said that it is best to eat the sandwich beginning with the bitter side and moving onto the sweet side, reminding us that though our slavery was indeed bitter, our redemption is sweeter still... It is a perfect sweet and spicy combination that is remarkably satisfying.

Apple and Date Charoset

Serves 12-20

For all ingredients, please consider using those that are grown organically.

2 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup almonds, raw
1 cup pistachios, unsalted
3 apples, granny smith and/or fuji, cored and quatered
1 whole orange, with peel, quartered
3/4 cup dry sherry or sweet wine
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the ingredients for a chunkier consistency. Let it whirl for a finer pureed consistency. I like it with a bit a texture, but not too chunky (see photos). Either way it will be delicious.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


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Making a Pyramid for the Sedar Plate...

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Passover, Sephardic

Categories: Fruits, Snacks, Nibbles & Finger Food, Spreads, Dips & Salsas, Spring & Summer

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