Haroset

Nut-Free Dried Fruit and Apple Haroset

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Passover has it's culinary challenges, it's true, but if you're like me, and have a kid with food allergies you are used to reading labels and figuring out substitutions throughout the year. I actually never minded this part. The fears of what could happen to my daughter if she ate fish or certain nuts, plus the medication and trips to the ER when it did happen were enough to motivate me.

Looked at it in a positive way, the Passover prohibitions plus the allergy no-nos are actually ways that have made my cooking more creative.

I like that.

Obviously, we do not have traditional Ashkenazi haroset at our Seders. My daughter can't even be in the same room as a walnut. She can eat pistachios and almonds, so our usual family haroset with dried fruit includes these.

But -- why take any chances? Because it's possible that one nut allergy could be a warning against all others, my daughter doesn't eat any nuts, in haroset or anything else. On Passover I always serve a second version that's nut-free.

Here is this year's:

Nut-Free Dried Fruit and Apple Haroset

  • 1/2 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 4-5 tablespoons sweet red Passover wine
  • pinch of cayenne pepper 

Combine the figs, dates, apricots, raisins and apple in a bowl. Add the nutmeg, preserves, wine and cayenne pepper and mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Let the mixture stand for at least one hour before serving. 

 Makes about 2-1/2 cups

 

 

Another Seder, Another Haroset

Please see the Note below:

 

Although I usually like to cook new foods and experiment with recipes, when it comes to the Jewish holidays I more or less prepare the same things my mother and grandmother served in their day. For the first night of Passover that means chicken soup with matzo balls, roasted turkey, chremslich and macaroons. And several side dishes, such as braised leeks and tomatoes, roasted carrots, some quinoa dish or other -- and so on.

But I can't help myself, even for this very traditional meal -- I always add a new dish or two or three.

Sometimes it's a side dish, sometimes a dessert.

Sometimes I'll add an additional haroset to my usual one.

That's it for this year. Here's the one: Dried Fruit Haroset with Ginger and Coriander.

NOTE: I understand that not everyone eats sesame seeds during Passover (sesame seeds are kitnyiot). Please follow according to your tradition. The haroset is delicious even without the seeds. If you prefer, scatter the top with chopped toasted almonds.

Dried Fruit Haroset with Ginger and Coriander

 

  • 1 cup chopped dried figs
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander (nutmeg, cinnamon)
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 4-5 tablespoons sweet red Passover wine
  • 1 tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds

Combine the figs, dates, apricots and raisins in a bowl. Add the ginger, coriander, preserves and wine and mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Let the mixture stand for at least one hour before serving.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

 Makes about 2-1/2 cups

Haroset with Pistachios and Pepper

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Charoset (Haroset) is more than a blob of stuff that sits on the Passover Seder plate. Sure, we talk about it during the Haggadah reading. It’s there to symbolize the mortar used between the bricks that Jewish slaves used to build the pyramids for the ancient Egyptian pharaoh.

But it’s also food. In our family, another fabulous side dish, more like a relish, that we eat plenty of during the meal.

None of us ever really loved the old fashioned apple-wine mixture that most of us Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern European descent grew up with. It always tasted a bit sour and it got brown and ugly and besides, my daughter Gillian can’t eat walnuts and somehow almonds didn’t taste right in the mixture.

So, years ago I experimented with lots of recipes and found one I liked. It was a “Persian” recipe that I changed over and over until I got it the way I liked. At first my kids refused to eat it saying they would rather eat real mortar than this new charoset. But over the years they gradually came to love it and now insist they always did or at least can’t remember when they didn’t.

I double the recipe I am going to post here because it’s so good we eat a lot of it and besides, this relish lasts a while in the fridge so you can keep on having it all during Passover.

Haroset with Pistachios and Pepper

  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots

  • 1 cup chopped dates

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts

  • 1 cup chopped almonds

  • 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped

  • 2/3 cup sweet red Passover wine

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel

  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade

    Combine the apricots, dates, raisins, pistachio nuts and almonds in a bowl and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. (You can prepare this much a week ahead). Add the apples, wine, vinegar, orange peel, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne and marmalade and mix ingredients. Let rest at least 4 hours before serving. May be made 3 days ahead.

Makes about 6 cups.