One of the tastiest parts of the seder plate, most would say*, is the charoset. As with every item on the plate, it has a special symbolic meaning. Charoset represents the mortar that was used to lay bricks when the Jews were slaves in Egypt. It is usually served a dip that is about the consistency of oatmeal, though sometimes it is formed into a little ball the size of a grape. The recipe can vary from the very simple Ashkenazic version of apples and nuts to the Persian version which contains 40 ingredients to commemorate the forty years in the desert.**
We usually don’t have charoset at home, but because of the impending seder, I decided to try my hand at making it. Since I’m not the kind of gal to follow a recipe word for word or at all, I just made things up as I went along and it turned out pretty well. It’s fun to cook this way (if you can call it cooking).
2 apples, peeled, cored, and roughly diced
1/4 c sweet red wine (Manischewitz Blackberry is what I used)
1/4 c blanched almonds
1/4 c hazelnuts
5 figs, pits removed
1/4 c golden raisins
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 T honey (or to taste)
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 pinch salt
Throw everything into the food processor, reserving one apple. Pulse until a lumpy paste forms, but do not over-process the mixture. Just in case you did over-process, add the last apple and pulse twice more.
* Boy would disagree. He loves horseradish. There’s a funny story behind that, but I’ll save it for another time.
** The things you learn from Wikipedia!