Charoset is a symbolic food which is found on the Seder plate during Passover. It’s a delicious, sweet blend of apples, honey, cinnamon, nuts and sweet red wine (or juice), with a color and texture which is supposed to resemble the bricks and mortar which the Israelites used when they were enslaved in Egypt.
So why am I blogging about Charoset, you ask? This past Sunday, our church participated in a passover “experience”. We call it an experience first because it did not happen on Passover. That is this coming Friday night – 3 April 2015. Secondly, we are not Jewish (although our leader was a Messianic Jew) and we are not strictly following all Kosher laws. Instead of a proper Seder meal, we had a potluck where people of all different backgrounds bought food to share – some Kosher, some not. But we went through the ceremonial elements of Passover, including the Seder plate. Charoset is just one element of the plate – served towards the end of the ceremony. It’s the sweetest part, which is great relief after tasting the bitter herbs!
Charoset is very easy to make. I started out by peeling all those apples, and finely chopping them. I decided mine was still a little too chunky so put about half of the chopped apple through my food processor, but this is a personal choice. Next you add the nuts, then drizzle the honey over the mixture. Sprinkle the cinnamon and give it a good mix. Add the sweet red wine or red grape juice. Mix it all together. If there is wine or juice pooling at the bottom, your apples probably had a higher water content. Just drain the juice, if desired. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
We used juice in our Charoset, as we were catering for a large crowd with different ages and beliefs regarding the consumption of alcohol. I also made a small batch without the nuts – with such a large number of participants it’s not unusual to find people with nut allergies and it’s nice for them to be able to participate in the ceremony (says the mother of a child with a nut allergy!). I used walnuts in my recipe, but pecans are also commonly used. The recipe calls for 12 cups of chopped apple. I used a mix of different types of apples – 6 Gala, 3 Fuji and 3 Granny Smith. I found that one apple was approximately 1 cup of finely chopped apple. The Fuji was slightly over and the granny smith was slightly under a cup – so in the end it all worked out.
This recipe was the perfect amount for serving 100 people during the Passover ceremony. It works out to be around 2 tablespoons of Charoset per person.
- 12 cups, finely chopped, peeled apple (about 12 apples)
- 4 cups chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups honey
- 1 cup sweet red wine or red grape juice
- Finely chop the apples. If desired, use a food processor for a finer cut, pulsing for about 15 seconds.
- Add the walnuts and mix with the apples.
- Drizzle the honey over the apples. Add the cinnamon and red wine.
- Mix well until the cinnamon and honey coat the apples and walnuts.
- Cover, and store in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.