Charoset or Haroset is a Passover classic, a Seder-plate item meant to symbolize the mortar Jewish slaves used to build “treasure cities” (or the pyramids) in their land of exile before the Exodus from Egypt. The Seder is a ritual performed by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. A special meal is followed. In Israel the Seder is on the first eve of the holiday whereas in countries outside of Israel it is repeated the following night as well.
So what is Charoset? It is actually a very delicious sweet paste and there are many variations to the recipe. Ashkenazie jews who originate from Europe typically use an apple-based recipe. This is also the most commonly used recipe in the United States. Sephardic jews who come from from Spain, Italy, North Africa, and the Middle East use dates as the base for their Charoset.
As a child in Israel I remember out of the entire dinner served, only liking the Charoset. It was sweet and a little nutty and you got to eat it before dinner during the Seder.
It can be made a little coarse and crunchy or smoother.
My Grandmother made a delicious Egyptian version. For many years I tried to duplicate her recipe but I really didn't ever find out what it was. I tried different combinations that were tasty but something was always missing.
After many trials I came up with this delicious recipe made with hazelnuts instead of the traditional walnuts and it was perfect and decadent.
I am sharing this recipe of a decadent paste with you that can be eaten during the entire week of passover on Matzah for breakfast or served all year. Delicious also as part of a cheese plate as a sweet addition with some crackers.
Here's all you need:
15 -20 pitted Israeli Medjool dates (these are the sweetest found in Israeli stores otherwise use what you have available)
1 cup of roasted hazelnuts. Optional: I added a few macadamia nuts too. You can use walnuts or any other nuts instead. Pan roast them for a few minutes first.
1 teaspoon cinnamon or according to taste
1 -2 tablespoon tablespoon Silan Date Syrup. You can use honey or maple syrup instead.
Put all ingredients in a food processor. See if it is the consistency you like. Add extra Silan if you like a smoother texture. The Charoset should be not too coarse but not too smooth so it's nice and thick, a little sticky and slightly crunchy.
That's all there is to it!
It is healthy nutritious and vegan too! Keep refrigerated and enjoy all week spread on Matza.
You can make energy balls out of the leftover charoset. See the recipe on my blog.
Happy Passover חג שמח
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