Traditional Sephardic charoset is somewhat different from what most of us are familiar with here in America. Moroccan seders will often serve these “Charoset Balls” rather than the spreadable charoset we are more familiar with here in America. I use pistachios because I love them, but you can substitute any nut of your choice.
Making the truffles is a very sticky process, so be prepared to scrub your hands afterwards! Parents should process the ingredients in the food processor. Kids will love rolling these candy-like treats, then dipping them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 1 cup dried apricots
- ½ cup raisins
- ¾ cup shelled pistachios
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Place dates, apricots, raisins, pistachios, and honey in a food processor and pulse for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth but still has some texture.
In a bowl, mix together the sugar and the cinnamon. Form date mixture into balls that are about ¾ inches in diameter. Dip the balls in the cinnamon sugar and coat thoroughly. Serve at room temperature.
- 1 1/2 cups red wine (recommended: cabernet sauvignon or Manischewitz)
- 1 pound (2 1/2 cups) red raisins
- 8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) dried dates, chopped fine
- 4 ounces (3/4 cup) dried apricots, chopped fine
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
- 8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) roasted almonds
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
Bring wine to a light simmer on medium heat, then stir in fruit and spices. Cook uncovered until fruit is well hydrated and wine has reduced to a thick syrup, about 15 minutes. Add salt to taste and set aside.
In a food processor, roughly chop almonds in short pulses. There should be no whole almonds remaining a mix of large chunks and small crumbs is preferable. Remove almonds from food processor and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
Add fruit mixture to food processor and pulse until fruit just begins to come together into a paste, 2 to 3 one-second pulses. Do not overprocess—large chunks of fruit should be intact.
Transfer fruit to mixing bowl and combine well with almonds. Stir in orange blossom water and additional salt if needed. Flavor of haroset will improve over time. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Not Just for Passover Recipes: Sephardic Style Charoset Bites
Sephardic Charoset) Bites - It is not just a Passover Recipe. Enjoy these Sugar Free, vegan and Gluten-free date and nut bites all year long. A real energy booster!
Enjoy our Vegan, Parve and Kosher for Passover Sephardic Charoset Recipe! It is Nutty, sweet and super easy to make, it will be a great addition to your Passover Seder.
Follow us on Instagram , Facebook or Twitter ! Leave us a comment or post a picture of your own version of our recipes (tag us @mayihavethatrecipe ). We would love to hear from you!
Love Jewish food? Sign up for our Nosher recipe newsletter!
Growing up in the 1950s and &lsquo60s as the product of a Sephardic-Ashkenazic &ldquomixed&rdquo marriage, I knew that Passover preparation consisted of scrubbing the house from top to bottom, chopping mounds of haroset by hand, and my parents&rsquo annual &ldquodiscussion&rdquo (i.e. passionate argument) about which foods were permissible for Passover and which were not.
My Poppi &mdash whose parents came from the Ottoman Empire and ancestors from pre-Inquisition Spain &mdash never understood the ban on rice and legumes, essential staples of the Sephardic diet and, in his opinion, banned based only on the whim of some long-dead rabbis. But my mother, while from a solidly Reform Jewish family, had a more traditional streak when it came to Passover foods. This meant that year after year, she won that discussion, and we all ate the Ashkenazic way, with just a few Sephardic dishes that complied with the Ashkenazi version of what was defined as &ldquokosher for Passover.&rdquo In short, no rice for us growing up.
Before we go any further, I should probably define what I mean when I say Sephardic. In its original meaning, the word applies to Jews descended from ancestors expelled from Spain and Portugal in the 15th century. These days, however, Sephardic has come to mean almost anyone and anything that is not Ashkenazic or Eastern European. This means Maghrebi Jews from North Africa and Mizrahi Jews with roots in the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, and Yemen) and Central Asia all get lumped together under the Sephardi heading.
While I worry about the blurred lines between diverse Jews potentially losing pieces of Jewish culture and history, one big upside is that Sephardi food now encompasses many diverse delicious cuisines. At Passover, for example, there&rsquos an endlessly fascinating variety of haroset that developed based on using ingredients that grew nearby like dates, figs, apricots, raisins, oranges, and nuts like pistachios, almonds, and hazelnuts. I&rsquove been making Moroccan haroset balls for over two decades now and wouldn&rsquot dare host a seder without them because I couldn&rsquot deal with the disgruntled guests. I now also make a Persian mixture with four kinds of nuts and several fruits then, in the holiday spirit, I plate it in the shape of a pyramid.
Leeks, artichokes, fava beans, and celery root are all considered essential ingredients for Sephardic Passover meals. One of my favorite vegetable dishes is quajado (which can also be spelled cuajado or kuajado), a sort of Sephardic kugel that&rsquos soft on the inside with a bit of crusty exterior. The word comes from asquajado, Spanish for &ldquocoagulated.&rdquo Think of it as a frittata with less egg and more veggies, the most popular being leeks, eggplant, zucchini, potato, and spinach. It&rsquos often made with cheese, which I sometimes leave out when making it for seder as a side dish or vegetarian main dish. It&rsquos also terrific for lunch or dinner, or even breakfast when you get tired of eating leftover haroset on matzah.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate celeriac or celery root, used widely in Sephardic dishes where it&rsquos called apyo. This vegetable might look ugly on the outside, but the flesh is a sweeter, more tender version of celery. The root is native to the Mediterranean region and parts of Europe where many cuisines use it in soups, mashes, and raw salads. The traditional Turkish preparation oil-poaches the versatile vegetable with carrots, lemon, and dill. It&rsquos most often served cold or at room temperature as a mezze appetizer before a main meal or as a side dish. (Recipe below.)
For an easy and full-of-flavor main meat dish, Moroccan chicken with preserved lemons and olives is a winning dinner that can be made ahead of time and set to reheat at a low temperature before serving. I made this chicken as guest chef for three Obama White House seders and, even more importantly, it&rsquos the main dish my 22-year-old son requests for his seder each year.
Two of the Sephardic dishes that were always on my seder table were huevos haminados and sponge cake. There were never regular hard-boiled eggs, but always the huevos cooked all day so the whites turn a light tan and the yolks become creamy. And always, always there was sponge cake, my Poppi&rsquos absolute favorite. I didn&rsquot know until, as an adult, I began to research Sephardic foods, that sponge cake came from the Jews of Spain, in the form of a light and citrusy pareve dessert called pan de Espagne. My family made the Passover version all year round, even for my father&rsquos birthday. He always savored it with a cup of strong coffee.
Sephardic Hard Cooked Eggs (Huevos Haminados)
- Skins and peels from 3 or 4 onions
- 12-24 eggs
- Pinch of salt
- 2-3 tsp whole peppercorns
- Olive oil or other vegetable oil
- Put onion skins and peels in the bottom of a heavy pot. Add the eggs, gently wedging them in tightly in one layer, two if the pot is deep enough. Add the salt and whole peppercorns. Cover with cold water all the way to the top of the pot. Add some olive oil or other vegetable oil to form at least a partial coating on the top that keeps the water from boiling out as quickly.
- Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high, turn down to simmer, and let cook 6-8 hours uncovered. Add water if necessary so the eggs are always covered.
- When done, take the pot from the heat, immediately pour out the hot water, and add lots of cold water. You can put some ice cubes in as well or just keep adding cold water until the eggs cool. This method ensures you can peel the eggs easily. Enjoy at the seder or anytime with a squeeze of lemon.
Turkish Celery Root and Carrots with Oil and Lemon (Apyo)
Note: When buying the celery root, it should be firm and have a gently sweet celery scent. Buy it with the stalks and leaves if you can as they are delicious to include in the dish.
Very good recipe with modifications discussed by other readers. I cut back on the bananas and cloves as suggested and added more pistachios instead of walnuts. Our group of 11 Ashkenazi Jews gave it a 10 out of 10 as it is beat our traditional recipe.
Worst charoset ever. Wish I’d trusted my instincts. Bananas utterly ruined the texture. And the spices - especially the nutmeg - too heavy-handed. Very disappointing.
I used one banana, a handful of apricots (in exchange for a few dates), 1 Tblsp pomegranate molasses (in exchange for one of the TBSP of honey), and 1/2 tsp cloves rather than a full tsp and it was GREAT! It had the perfect hint of tang and wasn't heavily laden with the banana taste some had complained about.
Not authentic. My mother was Sephardic. All of my relatives and their friends cooked their Charoset, like applesauce is made.
I can`t rate this recipe since I haven`t tried it but I think I will. It looks good. I`m not Jewish. Have googled the history of Charoset but have no idea of how it`s eaten in a meal. From my reading it appears to be a kind of relish or chutney. Perhaps I might be a Philistine but I think would be the perfect accompaniment for chicken. Can anyone let me know
TOO MUCH CLOVES! Good god. Why didn't I listen to myself when I questioned 1 whole teaspoon of cloves. My tongue is burning. Also needs something- some other fruit to lighten it- citrus? Apple?
Ms. Sussman makes a good effort, but her recipe has too many conflicting flavors and the wonderful tastes of sephardic charoset are overwhelmed by too much banana and spices more appropriate for pumpkin pie. She does offer a good basis for proportions. Just my opinion of course, but try these changes: reduce banana to one heat raisins and dates together in a microwave for 2 min, let sit 5 min, drain and puree. increase wine to 1/2 c. use 1 1/2 c toasted almonds and skip the walnuts and pistachios. add 1 peeled, trimmed orange for spices: just 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp allspice.
how long is this recipe supposed to keep?
The best I've ever made! I substituted an apple for one of the bananas, upped the amounts of almonds and pistachios and omitted the walnuts, left out the honey, and used pomegranate wine instead of the grape. It looked appropriately mortar-like and was a great addition to the meal. I'm eating up the leftovers as a spread on matzoh for breakfast. YUM.
Delicious and easy, and I agree with previous reviews about not using 3 bananas. I used 2 and it still tastes too ➺nanaish'. The bananas add texture, but next time I will try it with only 1 banana and maybe 25-26 dates. Happy Pesach!
I was looking for a recipe which most closely resembles my grandmothers. I went with this one but I changed a few things. It turned out great! I simplified the recipe by only using dates,dark (thompson) raisins, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds wine honey and spices. I started with the suggested proportions but ended up adding a lot more wine. My grandmother cooks the mixture so I did the same, but quickly regretted it as I liked the flavor much better before cooking. Overall great flavor. Enjoy!
This is an easy, delicious, make-ahead dish that keeps well. The spices made me think of pumpkin pie or gingerbread.
I used relatively unripe, greenish bananas (it's what I had), and found the flavor of the other items came out nicely. It definitely improved over time (both in flavor and color).
I usually add chopped granny smith apples to add texture, toasted pine nuts instead of walnuts (a lot of children and adults don't like walnuts). This gets better and better with standing, but drain before serving so matzoh is dry.
Absolutely delicious! I ate the leftovers every day for breakfast on matza! I agree that it had a little too much banana taste now that it's mentioned, but I hadn't really noticed it before.
A little too heavy on the bananna - I would start with only 2 and add the third if necessary.
I read at least 20 different recipes for sephardic charosis before choosing this one. The 1st ingredient being dates attracted me, but I find the dominant flavor is banana. I believe next time I'll decrease the bananas to 1 and add, perhaps, sone nice currants and/or apricots mentioned in the other recipes.
Delicious Dessert Options Anytime
If you don’t celebrate Passover, these are also fantastic dessert options for any occasion, especially when you desire a flavor-packed little morsel that satisfies after only a few bites. The Sephardic Charoset turns into spicy little dried fruit truffles that can round out any meal.
In addition, the Apple Charoset can be served as is, or used as a Chutney, a topping for Greek Yogurt, a base for Phase 3 Homemade Granola (Always Hungry? pg. 229) or as the fruit for either of the crisp toppings (Always Hungry? pp. 285- 287).
Chocolate haroset truffles
Haroset, a blend of fruit, nuts and wine, is probably the most popular food of the eight-day holiday of Passover, which begins on Monday night.
For the Seder, the feast commemorating the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, haroset is spooned onto the Seder plate alongside other symbolic Passover preparations and is served as part of the ritual. Although haroset’s brown color is meant to be a sad reminder of the mortar made by the Hebrew slaves, people’s faces light up when it’s time to sample it.
Some Jews prepare extra haroset to use as a spread throughout Passover. To me, haroset is more than a holiday item. I use it as a basic flavoring for desserts the way French cooks use almond praline, Italians use chocolate-hazelnut gianduja and Americans use peanut butter.
Over the centuries, Jewish cooks around the world developed many versions of haroset. Typical Ashkenazi haroset like the one I grew up with is a light-textured mixture of grated or chopped apples, chopped walnuts, sweet red wine and cinnamon. Sephardi haroset is made with dates, which make it sweeter and denser, almost like a paste. Pistachios and pomegranate juice might flavor Persian haroset, which might also contain fresh pears and bananas. Yemenites combine dried fruit with sweet spices, almonds and often sesame seeds to Orthodox Ashkenazim, the presence of the sesame seeds makes this haroset not kosher for Passover.
For my standard haroset, I combine ingredients from the lands of the Bible: dates, dried figs, raisins, dried apricots, almonds and walnuts, blended with wine and sweet spices.
With my haroset I flavor treats from blintzes to brownies. I use it to fill cream puffs, to enhance baked puddings and to make confections.
Haroset mixed with chocolate melted in wine makes tasty truffles. I roll them in chopped walnuts or grated coconut, and I have an easy pareve treat that’s healthy too.
For a new twist on blond brownies, I add haroset, dried apricots and chocolate chunks to a Passover brownie batter made with matzo cake meal and potato starch. They’re certainly easier to make than Passover sponge cakes.
One of my favorite ways to use matzo is to make it into haroset kugel. It’s much faster to prepare than noodle kugel, as there is no pasta to cook. I just crumble and moisten a few matzos, mix them with eggs, haroset and sliced apples, and bake the mixture with a topping of cinnamon and sugar. You can serve the kugel with Iraqi haroset, a saucelike combination of silan (date syrup) and wal- nuts.
But why should we enjoy something so delicious only during Passover? I plan to keep haroset on hand year-round to flavor all sorts of desserts.
When is charoset eaten?
Charoset is an important part of the Pesach seder – the ritual meal that occurs at the start of the festival. It is one of the items on the Seder Plate, and plays an important role in the proceedings.
At the appropriate time during the seder, participants dip bitter herbs – maror – into the charoset, before making a blessing and eating it. The charoset is also included in the ‘Hillel sandwich‘ which comprises matza, bitter herbs and charoset.
Maimonides instructed that all of the seder’s ritual foods, including leafy greens – karpas – and matza, be dipped into the charoset. Some Yemenite Jews still follow this tradition.
Today, many people enjoy charoset not only as part of their seder, but throughout the week of Pesach as a dip, spread or snack. It has also been included in desserts such as charoset ice-cream and charoset cake, or even in this charoset salad.
For as long as I can remember, Passover has been the most important holiday in our home, and everyone looks forward to the Seder. Family and friends, often as many as 30, attend the event, and I am constantly looking for new and different ideas to enliven their Passover experience. Passover begins at sundown today.
Before the meal, the story of the exodus from Egypt is retold, and everyone participates, from the oldest to the very young. The Seder plate of foods that symbolize the events that took place long ago is prominently displayed on the table. One of these foods is charoset, a fruit, nut and wine mixture that represents the mortar used by the Jews when they were slaves in Egypt.
Charoset ingredients vary according to the areas where Jews traveled and depend on which products were available. The mixture from Eastern Europe was usually apples, walnuts, cinnamon and sweet wine. The Sephardic recipes differ depending on the country. The Yemenite Jews, for example, make charoset with dates, dried figs, coriander and cayenne pepper, making for a spicy mixture, typical of Yemen’s cuisine.
At my Seder table, I try to have representatives of many of these different charosets. A label is attached to each plate to identify the country it represents. This makes for lots of conversation, and our guests discuss where their ancestors came from and which fruits, nuts and spices were used in their families.
In keeping with the concept of using local products, I decided to create a special California-style charoset and have given it to our children. I hope that they will include it as part of their family Seder. The recipe, combining ingredients typical of California, consists of avocados, prunes, almonds, orange juice and raisins. Perhaps this idea will inspire you to create your own charoset recipe.
This year, I plan to surprise my family with several new recipes that combine charoset with some of the typical foods we normally eat during the eight-day holiday.
One of these is a chicken “sausage” stuffed with a Greek charoset of dates, raisins and ginger. It can be a welcome change from the roasted chicken that is usually offered as a main course. In this recipe, I wrap the boned chicken breasts with plastic wrap to resemble a sausage and poach them for 15 minutes. The liquid trapped inside the wrap develops its own flavors and, when unwrapped, becomes a wonderful sauce for the chicken.
Lamb is one of the traditional Passover foods, and I have added a Middle Eastern Sephardic charoset mixture to my lamb burgers. It adds an unusual flavor and sweetness to the lamb and keeps it tender and juicy. Mashed potatoes and spring asparagus are a perfect accompaniment.
To finish the Seder dinner, one Passover dessert will be a homemade coffee cake filled and topped with Eastern European charoset. The chopped apple-nut mixture brings a unique taste and adds crunch to the cake.
Chocolate-covered nuts, strawberries, dried fruit and matzo farfel are favorite Passover desserts.
Menus & Tags
Be the first to review this recipe
You can rate this recipe by giving it a score of one, two, three, or four forks, which will be averaged out with other cooks' ratings. If you like, you can also share your specific comments, positive or negative - as well as any tips or substitutions - in the written review space.
© 2021 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast.