All over the world Jews prepare the ritual food of Haroset (also charoset or charoses) in different ways. The dense paste-like quality of the dish symbolizes the mortar which ancient Jews used to build the pyramids in Egypt. The mixtures are traditionally a combination of nuts and fruits which are apple based in eastern Europe, and often made of dried fruits in the rest of the world.
In this recipe I also add whole oranges including the peel to cut the sweetness of the dates and raisins. The red wine is thought to symbolize the Red Sea which parted so that the Jews could cross. You don’t have to add the wine, but it rounds out the flavors and also adds complexity to a very sweet fruit paste. Leftover note: If you have any Haroset leftover it makes an excellent bar cookie filling. Gourmet fig newtons, anyone?
Keep reading for my recipe…
Evan Kleiman’s Haroset
I’ve made haroset using a food processor but find it frustrating. Now I much prefer to use a food grinder that attaches to my stand mixer.
1 lb pitted dates
2 large naval oranges
½ lb raisins
½ lb dried figs or golden raisins
1 cup red wine
2 tsps cinnamon
½ tsp or more to taste cayenne pepper
½–1 cup toasted pine nuts or almonds, chopped
Check dates to be sure there are no pits. Trim the stem end of the oranges and cut them into quarters. Pass all of the ingredients through the meat grinder attachment of a mixer.
Transfer the ground fruit to a bowl. Add wine and cinnamon and mix thoroughly. Mix in pine nuts or almonds, which can also be used as garnish.