Charoset is a traditional Passover food used during the seder. It represents the mortar the Jews used to cement the pyramids together during their enslavement. There are many recipes out there for charoset, and I was tired of the version endemic to Ashkenazi Jews in the US: Mix chopped apple with walnuts, cinnamon, and grape juice. Viola. ::yawn::
So I did a little research. (There’s a great repository of various charoset recipes here.) Difficult cultures have different regional variations of charoset. All feature some mix of fruits and nuts with a liquid to thin it out, most often wine but also grape juice. Some recipes are chopped, chunky versions that fall apart. Others are blended up and can be spread. I prefer the blended. I think it’s more authentic to mortar consistency. Plus it’s easier to eat. And when you’re dealing with matzo that breaks apart by looking at it, ease of spreading and getting into the mouth gets bonus points.
The recipe I’ve been playing with supposedly hails from Persia. It certainly contains some fruits and nuts found in the Middle East, though I can’t vouch for it’s authenticity. It does taste good, though! Plus you can just toss it all into the food processor in big chunks, turn it on, and be done.
The original recipe suggests the charoset be formed into a pyramid shape. That’s certainly not a requirement to enjoy it, though. And feel free to substitute or omit any ingredients if you don’t have them laying around your pantry. No problem.
Persian Style Charoset
Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 5 cups
1 unpeeled pear, cored and finely chopped
1 unpeeled apple, cored and finely chopped
1 C finely chopped walnuts
1 C finely chopped almonds
1 C finely chopped hazelnuts
1 C finely chopped pistachio nuts
1 C chopped pitted dates
1 C chopped raisins
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp grated ginger root OR .5 tsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
sweet wine or grape juice, as needed
1. Place fruit and nuts in a blender. Pulse to blend, making it smooth but keeping some of the texture. Add cinnamon, ginger root, vinegar and enough wine or juice to bind the mixture together.Stores in the refrigerator for several weeks.