Thursday, April 19, 2012

Walnut & Dried Fruit Charoset

Unless you've been to a Passover seder, chances are you have no idea what charoset is (I've never seen it at the supermarket or on the menu at the diner). It's a sweet condiment eaten during the seder ceremony (and believe me, when you're an hour into a seder and waiting for dinner to start, it tastes like heaven on a matzo). I'm a big fan of the Ashkenazi charoset, usually made of walnuts and chopped apples. But I thought for a change, I would try a Sephardic version made with dried fruit instead. And I have to say, while it was really delicious, I did miss the apples a little. Maybe just because that's what I'm used to. Maybe next year I'll really go nuts and make a pistachio version. It might be nice to brighten up the seder plate with some green glop, instead of the usual brown glop.

Makes about 3 cups

The Passover meal typically includes charoset, which symbolizes the mortar used by Israelite slaves in Egypt. Recipes can vary greatly, depending on the country of origin. Charoset is used as a condiment — almost like a chutney — and would be good with many kinds of roasted meat or poultry. This spicy version is based on a recipe from Yemen.

1 1/3 cups (4 oz) walnuts, toasted and cooled
2/3 cup (6 oz) dried Mission figs, stems cut off
2/3 cup (6 oz) dried apricots
1/3 cup (4 oz) pitted dates
1/4 cup sweet red wine (such as Manischewitz Extra Heavy Malaga)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1.      Pulse walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium-large bowl and set aside.
2.      Pulse together figs, apricots, and dates until finely chopped. Transfer to the bowl with the walnuts.
3.      Stir in the wine. Sprinkle spices evenly over mixture and stir until combined well. Can be made 3 days ahead and kept, covered, at room temperature.

from Gourmet, April 2003
chopped walnuts
dried fruit
chopped dried fruit
chopped walnuts and dried fruit mixed together
adding the sickeningly sweet wine
adding cinnamon
all spices added
walnut & dried fruit charoset
charoset "sandwich" on matzo

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