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.