For a Passover seder last week, I was charged with bringing the charoset. I decided to make a batch in the Sephardi style with Israeli influences to compliment the traditional Ashkenazi version I’ve made and eaten since I was a kid.
Charoset is one of the symbolic foods on the seder plate. Whatever your ethnic take on it, it represents the mortar that enslaved Israelites slathered on bricks under the Egyptian sun.
My Middle Eastern melange of dried fruits, nuts, orange zest, and spices received about 100 times as many comments as the familiar Old World mixture of apples and nuts. It also drew an emphatic email request for the recipe, comparing the sweet paste to a certain highly addictive drug. Here is what I wrote up–stat–for the fellow seder guest.
So, just in time for Easter, I figured I would post it here. We still have a few days of Passover left (it ends at sundown on Tuesday, April 2) and it’s never too early to plan your fix for next year. (Recipe after the jump)
Sepharaeli Charoset (a Sephardic/Israeli mashup)
Adapted from a Hazon recipe
Makes about 6 cups
3 1/2 cups pitted figs and/or dates, coarsely chopped
1 cup almonds, or a combination of almonds and walnuts
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
Zest of one orange, grated (optional – this an Israeli influence)
1 medium banana, coarsely chopped (optional – also from the Israeli version)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4-1/2 cup wine
Juice of one orange, or water as needed
Combine the fruits, nuts, orange zest, and spices in food processor* and process on pulse until chopped fine.
Add 1/4 cup wine and the orange juice (or about 1/4 cup water), then continue to process and add more wine until the mixture forms a paste.
Leave the charoset a little chunky if you’d like, or continue to pulverize until uniform.
Serve at your seder, then use leftovers as a spread or condiment. I mixed mine into yogurt for breakfast.
*You can also do this in a blender, but be sure to add everything at once so the liquid will help to puree.
Enjoy, chag sameach, and Happy Easter!