With Passover less than two weeks away, it’s time to make some serious decisions. The most important decision, in my opinion, is what kind of charoset to make. I love charoset. I like that charoset being passed around the table means dinner is about to start. I love that charoset is symbolic — it’s there to remind us of the mortar used by the Jewish slaves in Egypt to build cities. And I really love charoset because it’s delicious.
When I was growing up, charoset was always a mixture of shredded apples, cinnamon, honey, chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) and some sweet red wine. Nobody in my family used a precise recipe — we just added what looked right and kept tasting and adjusting until it was perfect.
Eventually I started experimenting and came up with some different flavour combinations that I really liked. Now I have a few charoset recipes that I love. Here’s my recipe for date charoset. I like it so much I make a double batch to use it on matzo throughout the week (great for breakfast!).
2 oz. | 55 g walnuts (1/2 cup | 120 mL)
8 oz. | 225 g pitted dates (1 cup | 235 mL)
3 oz. | 85 g golden raisins (1/2 cup | 120 mL)
1/2 tsp. | 2 mL dried ginger
1/2 tsp. | 2 mL cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
3 Tbsp. | 45 mL sweet red wine
2 Tbsp. | 30 mL fresh orange juice
1/4 tsp. | 1 mL orange zest
Toast the nuts. Preheat the oven to 350 F | 175 C. Spread the nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 8-9 minuets, or until golden brown. Cool.
Put all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the charoset reaches a texture you like. I like to pulse it until it is mostly paste, with some small chunks remaining. If you like it chunkier, stop pulsing before it gets too smooth.
Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Makes 1 1/2 cups | 355 mL
* Adapted from my book, Passover – A Kosher Collection