Saturday, March 20, 2010

Preparing for Passover: Moroccan Charoset



This is not a Korean-style Haroset despite the title of this blog. I am introducing you to my favorite version of Haroset. It's a Moroccan-style Haroset that my friends and family demand I make every Passover. It's my entry pass to our annual Pesach/Passover seder. No Haroset, no entry!

The traditional Ashkenazi Haroset features apples, raisins, cinnamon and walnuts.  I can't put my finger on the reason that this version of Haroset sets my teeth on edge, but I don't find it remotely appealing. One reason is the fact that it's highly unlikely that the earliest Jews would have served such a concoction at their Pesach seders.

Another reason I'm not a big fan of the Ashkenazi Haroset is that I don't like raisins at all.   No amount of cinnamon, sugar or walnuts can change that. I call them "shriveled up, dead fruit." I'm also not a big fan of apples, at least as the main actor, either.

It is my belief that the Haroset recipes found in such countries as Morocco, Iraq or Yemen are closer to what King David or even Moses would have eaten during this season. Maimonides (aka Rambam), the famous medieval Sephardic Jewish doctor and scholar said that Haroset,

is meant as a reminder of the mortar which the Israelites worked with in Egypt. Dates, dried figs, raisins, or the like are taken and pounded, wine vinegar is added, and the mixture is seasoned with condiments in the same way that mortar is seasoned with straw (Maimonides, The Book of Seasons 7:11).


So without further adieu, here's my recipe for Moroccan Haroset. If you buy the ingredients now, you'll have plenty of time to make this recipe before Pesach. Hag Sameach!

24 dried prunes
24 dried figs
24 pitted dates
12 dried apricots
1 tsp ground cinnamon or Chinese five spice powder
1 cup chopped pistachios
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
grape juice (optional for additional moisture)

Finely chop (with either a chef's knife or kitchen scissors) all the fruit and put it into a bowl. Put the nuts into a food processor or spice grinder and roughly chop them as well. Mix the nuts into the bowl with the dried fruit and mix well. If the nuts and fruits aren't sticking together well, add a few tablespoons of grape juice or kosher wine to help things along. 

You can omit the nuts of you have family or friends who are allergic to nuts. I have made this recipe without nuts in the past and have still received good reviews. 

If you have leftovers, and that's a big if, you can dip the rest in melted chocolate or roll them in crushed walnuts or pistachios to enjoy through the rest of the week (or at least the next day).

Charoset on Foodista

Moroccan Charosets on FoodistaMoroccan Charosets

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