Even if the weather forecast still says snow is coming, spring is here and that means it is time for Passover. I know there are hundreds of variations and creative twists on this traditional food, but I wanted to share the recipe for my family’s classic charoset. There is nothing especially creative or unusual about this one, but it is just the way I like it. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Each year I have shared some of my family’s favorite Passover recipes with you on this website. My recipe for roast turkey was a Passover post that reappears for Thanksgiving. This year I will be making my popovers and gefilte fish for the seder for sure. And of course, my favorite during the rest of Passover is the matza fry. What are some of your Passover favorites?
Every year as Passover approaches, I am reminded of the meaning of this holiday in a number of ways. We are no longer slaves in Egypt, but we still make ourselves slaves to other things in life today. Especially before this holiday, we go crazy around our house with spring cleaning. I think we spend at least a week prior to Passover cleaning and packing up things and changing over our kitchen to be ready. We work so hard, that we feel like slaves and begin to wonder how we are going to enjoy Passover when it just feels like a lot of work. But then the seder comes, and we always relax and enjoy the holiday. But it all makes me think about the things we make ourselves slaves to in life the rest of the year.
There are plenty of traditional foods we enjoy at Passover, and usually they are meant to represent something related to the holiday. Charoset is supposed to represent the mortar that the Israelite slaves used when building with bricks. I don’t know what kind of mortar you might have seen, but I have used plenty of mortar and it never looks like this sweet dish of apples and nuts. Maybe the symbolism is just in that we talk about it as the mortar, but the sweetness reminds us that we are free.
I have to admit, I never really measure when I am making this recipe. It just seems to come together and it works every time. I estimated the proportions below, but don’t stick to that strictly…feel free to wing it and try what you think tastes best. I like to use a combination of apples in this recipe and usually get a couple Granny Smiths and a few Honeycrisps to give some nice contrast in flavors and textures. I also like to add some chopped dates for the same reason. When I was growing up, we always used walnuts in our charoset, but I prefer pecans. When you add the honey and the wine, add just enough to get plenty of moisture in there, but not so much that you are making soup. The apples will soak up some, but no one likes their charoset runny.
I hope you have a wonderful Passover!
- 4-5 apples peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 cup chopped dates
- +/- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
- 2-4 tbsp. honey
- 2-4 tbsp. sweet Passover wine
- Pinch cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stash in the fridge. Give it a stir once in a while so the flavors all combine thoroughly. You can make this well in advance so it is ready for your seder, and the rest of Passover.