Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I know it's a little bit early to be offering a recipe for charoset [hah-ROH-set], which is a fruit mixture served at Passover; it represents the mortar used by the Jews during their enslavement in Egypt, and is an integral part of the Seder which commemorates the flight to freedom. But although it's early, giving this to you today serves two purposes:
1. You'll have the recipe for next Friday evening, when Passover begins at sundown, without thinking "Gee, if only she'd provided that a few days earlier, I could have bought the ingredients and had it ready!"
2. You'll have this at your disposal when you see tomorrow's cookie recipe, which uses the charoset as a thumbprint filling. The cookies are an entry into Project PB&J, a food bloggers' competition, so it was necessary to post them - and thus the charoset - this week.
This is a variation on a recipe which was a co-winner at the Charoset Throwdown held at a local synagogue in 2008; I've simplified it here. It had originally called for several more ingredients and extra steps that can be saved without losing quality of taste or consistency.
European-style (Ashkenazi) charoset tends to feature apples and wine, while Middle Eastern (Sephardi) varieties often employ dates and figs. And just as each family has its own special recipes for other holidays, every family serves a different type of charoset for Passover; some have one favorite, others serve an assortment, and still others try a new one each year.
At the Throwdown, I was thrilled to have someone tell me that my charoset "tastes just like candy." And another woman suggested that it would make a lovely filling for hamantaschen at Purim, which it most certainly would if I ever remembered to use it as such instead of only thinking of this as a Passover dish!
Whether you schmear this onto matzah, use it as a filling, or just eat it with a spoon, I hope you enjoy it ... and tomorrow's cookies featuring this delicious fruit mixture, too.
Fig and Date Charoset
2 tablespoons butter (or pareve substitute)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup ginger ale
2 cups chopped dates
2 cups dried Black Mission figs, chopped
Melt the butter and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the connamon and ginger ale; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the dates and figs; cook over low heat for 2 minutes, until fruit softens. Mash the mixture together until the liquid is absorbed and the charoset is glossy.
Makes 2 cups.
Here are some other recipes for you to enjoy at Passover:
Chocolate Caramel Matzah
Custard with Strawberry Sauce
Vegetable Cheese Mina
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