Charoset means “clay”—and though its consistency is meant to recall the mortar used by the Israelites to build structures for the ancient Egyptians during their enslavement, it certainly does not taste like it. (Very occasionally a charoset recipe will include a pinch of actual brick dust for authenticity, but none of the ones included in this package, since these days it’s not that easy to source.) In fact, there’s no one recipe. Since Jews are scattered all over the world, they look to their surrounding societies and agricultures for inspiration and create a mosaic of charosets, all different in ingredients but joined in a common injunction: Make it sticky and make it delicious.

Ashkenazi Charoset

For Jews hailing from Eastern and Central Europe, charoset recipes are fairly homogenous. Most combine apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and sweet red wine to create the mortar-like mixture. Some families dress up the charoset with a sprinkle of ginger, grated citrus zest, or other spices.

Serves 6-8

1 1/2 cups walnut halves, lightly toasted and very finely chopped
3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated or finely chopped
1/3 cup raisins, optional
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, plus more as needed

Add the walnuts to a large bowl along with the apples, raisins (if using), cinnamon, honey, and wine; stir to combine. Taste and add a little more wine if desired. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Mexico City Charoset

Whether Ashkenazi or Sephardi, Mexican charoset recipes typically remain quite close to their country of origin. But according to chef, cookbook author, and television personality Pati Jinich, “people are starting to play.” Jinich likes to use a mix of apples and pears in her Ashkenazi-inspired version. She also adds plenty of canela (cinnamon) and rehydrated hibiscus flowers for a tart and floral flavor.

Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups walnut halves, lightly toasted and very finely chopped
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated or finely chopped
1 medium pear, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, plus more as needed

Add the hibiscus flowers to a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes then drain well (reserve hibiscus water for tea or another use). Roughly chop the hibiscus and set aside.

Add the walnuts, apples, pear, cinnamon, honey, and wine to a large bowl; stir to combine. Fold in the rehydrated hibiscus flowers. Taste and add a little more wine if desired or if the mixture seems dry. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Montreal Charoset

In maple syrup-producing areas including Quebec, Vermont, and Maine, it is not uncommon for families to add a drizzle of the pure syrup to their Ashkenazi-inspired charoset recipes.

Serves 6-8

1 1/2 cups walnut halves, lightly toasted and very finely chopped
3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated or finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, plus more as needed

Add the walnuts to a large bowl along with the apples, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and wine; stir to combine. Taste and add the remaining tablespoon of maple syrup and a little more wine if desired. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Brazilian Charoset

Charosets in Brazil tend to be fairly true to their Ashkenazi or Sephardi source recipes. But Sao Paulo-based chef Eduardo Mandel likes to swap in earthy Brazil nuts for the more traditional walnuts in his Ashkenazi-style charoset. He occasionally uses a drizzle of Brazil nut oil for a more intense flavor and said that cashews, which are also native to Brazil, make a fine addition as well.

Serves 6-8

1 cup Brazil nuts, very finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews, very finely chopped
3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated or finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon honey

Add the Brazil nuts and cashews to a large bowl along with the apples, cinnamon, wine, and honey; stir to combine. Taste and add a little more wine if desired. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

New Orleans Charoset

In the American South, Ashkenazi charoset recipes often swap regionally beloved pecans for the traditional walnuts. Occasionally, fresh or dried peaches are also added to the mix. This recipe is inspired by the Kosher Creole Cookbook by Mildred Covert, and by Marcie Cohen Ferris’ Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South.

Serves 6-8

1 1/2 cups pecan halves, lightly toasted and very finely chopped
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated or finely chopped
1 fresh peach, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, plus more as needed
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)

Add the pecans to a large bowl along with the apples, peach, cinnamon, wine, and brown sugar; stir to combine. Taste and add a little more wine if desired. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Syrian Charoset

Dates are the primary ingredient for almost all Syrian charoset recipes. They are typically cooked, mashed, and mixed with walnuts. But the family behind Mansoura Pastries, a beloved Syrian-Jewish bakery in Brooklyn, sometimes uses toasted hazelnuts instead.

Serves 4-6

3 cups pitted dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, or more as needed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves or toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

Add the dates to a medium saucepan set over high heat and add just enough water to cover. Bring mixture to a boil then lower heat to medium-low, cover pan and simmer, stirring often, until dates are very soft, 20-25 minutes. If the mixture gets dry during cooking, add a little more water. Drain the cooked dates through a fine mesh sieve (discarding any cooking liquid) and set aside to cool slightly.

Add the cooked dates to a food processor along with the wine and cinnamon; pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary until smooth paste forms. If a looser mixture desired, add in a little more wine. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed. Just before serving, stir in the nuts.

Egyptian Charoset

Adapted from the recipe in Claudia Roden’s groundbreaking cookbook, The Book of Jewish Food, this Egyptian charoset cooks dates and golden raisins into a sweet and delicious paste.

Serves 4-6

1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
1/3 cup roasted, unsalted almonds, roughly chopped

Add the dates, raisins, wine, and 1/2 cup of water to a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until fruit is very soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.

Transfer mixture to a food processor along with the honey and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a thick paste forms. Drizzle in a little more wine if a looser consistency is desired. Transfer charoset to a bowl and sprinkle with the almonds.

Yemenite Charoset

Warming spices like cardamom, coriander, and black pepper and a sprinkle of sesame seeds help set Yemenite charoset, called doukeh, apart.

Serves 6-8

1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 cup raisins
1 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, optional
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pure pomegranate juice, sweet red wine, or grape juice, plus more as needed

Add the dates, raisins, almonds, sesame seeds (if using), ginger, cardamom, coriander, black pepper, and pomegranate juice to a food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary until a spreadable paste forms. If needed, drizzle in a little more juice and pulse until the desired texture is reached.

Greek Charoset

There are many different variations of Greek charoset. Many include dried currants and pine nuts, which give the mixture a sweet-tart flavor and buttery richness.

Serves 6-8

1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 cup dried currants
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup pine nuts
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, plus more as needed

Add the dates, currants, raisins, pine nuts, cinnamon, cloves, and wine to a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary until a thick, textured paste forms. If needed, drizzle in a little more wine and pulse until the desired texture is reached.

Calcutta Charoset

The Jewish community of Calcutta originally hailed from Iraq and Syria, which means their charoset, called halek, is date-based. This simple version combines rich date molasses (silan) with a sprinkling of walnuts.

Serves 4-6

1 cup silan (date molasses)
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Add the silan to a serving bowl and sprinkle walnuts over top.

Bukharian Charoset

Persimmons do not show up in all Bukharian charoset recipes, but they give the mixture a deliciously fruity flavor. This recipe is based on the one found in Classic Central Asian (Bukharian) Jewish Cuisine and Customs by Amnun Kimyagarov.

Serves 6-8

1 cup walnut halves
3/4 cup raisins
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
2 ripe fuyu persimmons, quartered and peeled
3 tablespoons sweet red wine or grape juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Add the walnuts and raisins to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Transfer walnut-raisin mixture to a bowl. Add the apples, persimmons, wine, and cinnamon to the food processor, then sprinkle the walnut-raisin mixture back over top. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a chunky (not pasty) mixture forms. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and chill for 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Ethiopian Charoset (via Israel)

A generation or two ago, one would not find charoset on an Ethiopian Passover table. But in the decades since the majority of Ethiopian Jews immigrated to Israel, families have begun to include charoset in their celebrations. This recipe is inspired by Beejhy Barhany, owner of Tsion Cafe in Harlem, and includes the cuisine’s central spice mixture, berbere, and a drizzle of Ethiopian honey wine, called tej. Adjust the amount of berbere to match your desired level of heat.

Serves 6-8

1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 cup black mission figs, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4-1 teaspoon berbere
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons tej (honey wine), plus more as needed

Add the dates, figs, apple, cinnamon, desired amount of berbere, cardamom, cloves, and tej to a food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary until a spreadable paste forms. If needed, drizzle in a little more tej and pulse until the desired texture is reached. Taste and add more berbere if a spicier charoset is desired.

Persian Charoset

Iranian versions of charoset, called hallegh, are among the most complex. They typically include a wide array of nuts and fruits (both fresh and dried) and are flavored with pomegranate juice and vinegar, giving the mixture a distinctly sweet-tart flavor. This version is inspired by food writer Tannaz Sassooni’s family’s recipe.

Serves 6-8

1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/2 cup roasted unsalted pistachios
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 banana, cut into chunks
1/2 medium apple, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
1 small pear, peeled cored, and cut into chunks
1/3 cup pure pomegranate juice
3/4 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, or more as needed
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons rose water, optional

Add the almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, golden raisins, raisins, dates, banana, apple, pear, pomegranate juice, wine, vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, and rose water, if using, to a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a thick paste forms. If a looser consistency is desired, blend in a little more wine. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and chill for at least 2 hours before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Moroccan Charoset

Moroccan charoset recipes are typically date-based and often formed into balls rather than eaten as a spread.

Serves 8

1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 cup pitted prunes, roughly chopped
1 cup raisins
1 cup lightly toasted walnut halves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup sweet red wine or grape juice

Add the dates, prunes, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves, honey, and wine to a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary until a thick paste forms.

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out a rounded tablespoon of the date mixture and, using slightly moistened hands, roll into a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the remaining date mixture. Use a fine mesh sieve to generously dust the charoset balls on all sides with additional cinnamon. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

Algerian Charoset

A hint of nutmeg lends earthy flavor to Algeria’s date-based charoset.

Serves 4-6

3 cups pitted dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, or more as needed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or more as needed
1/2 cup toasted walnut halves or almonds (or a mix of both), finely chopped

Add the dates to a medium saucepan set over high heat and add just enough water to cover. Bring mixture to a boil then lower heat to medium-low, cover pan and simmer, stirring often, until dates are very soft, 20-25 minutes. If the mixture gets dry during cooking, add a little more water. Drain the cooked dates through a fine mesh sieve (discarding any cooking liquid) and set aside to cool slightly.

Add the cooked dates to a food processor along with the wine, cinnamon, and nutmeg; pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary until smooth paste forms. If a looser mixture is desired, add in a little more wine. Taste and add more nutmeg, if desired. Transfer mixture to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed. Just before serving, stir in the nuts.

Curacao Charoset

Jews hailing from the Island of Curacao blend peanuts, cashews, and citrus juice into their Sephardi-based charoset, called garosa. The mixture is sweet, bright, and satisfying. The mixture can be served as a spread, but is also sometimes rolled into balls.

Serves 8

1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1 cup pitted prunes, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup figs, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of half a lime
3 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
3 tablespoons sweet red wine or grape juice

Add dates, prunes, raisins, figs, peanuts, cashews, orange juice, lime juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, and wine to a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a thick and chunky paste forms.

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out a rounded tablespoon of the date mixture and, using slightly moistened hands, roll into a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the remaining date mixture. Use a fine mesh sieve to generously dust the charoset balls on all sides with additional cinnamon. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately or refrigerate until needed.

Suriname Charoset

Jews hailing from Suriname make a unique cooked charoset with seven fruits, including coconut. This recipe, which makes a substantial amount of charoset, is adapted from the one in Joan Nathan’s The Jewish Holiday Kitchen.

Serves 8-10

1 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup dried apple rings, chopped
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup cherry jam
2 tablespoons sweet red wine or grape juice

Add the almonds to a food processor and pulse until finely ground; set aside. Add the coconut, dried apples, apricots, prunes, raisins, cherries, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon to a large saucepan. Add enough water to just cover the ingredients, and set pan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil then lower heat to medium-low, cover pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fruits plump up, about 30 minutes.

Uncover the pan and continue cooking, stirring often, until mixture is jammy and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cherry jam, wine, and the ground almonds. Let cool completely (mixture will continue to sweeten as it cools). Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Turkish Charoset

There are many variations of charoset across Turkey. According to NY Shuk co-founder Leetal Arazi, her Turkish grandmother’s recipe includes a very simple mix of grated apples, raisins, and walnuts. Meanwhile, Jewish Food Experience co-founder Susan Barocas, says that many Turkish charoset recipes use dried apricots. This recipe combines both of these approaches and is delicious and refreshing.

Serves 6

2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely grated
1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins, finely chopped
1 cup walnut halves, finely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 orange

Add grated apples to a large bowl; pour off any excess liquid (but do not squeeze). Add the apricots, raisins, walnuts, orange zest and juice and stir well to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and chill for at least two hours.

Variation: Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a chunky mixture forms.

Kurdish Charoset

This recipe for Kurdish charoset, called halich, is adapted slightly from The Jewish Cookbook. Eaten as either a spread or rolled into balls, the dish is based on a family recipe from Brooklyn-based teacher Debbie Kaufman.

Serves 8

1 cup walnut halves
1 cup roasted unsalted hazelnuts
1/2 cup roasted unsalted almonds
1/2 cup roasted unsalted pistachios
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup dry red wine, sweet red wine, or grape juice

Add the walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, golden raisins, raisins, dates, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and wine to a food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a thick paste forms. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately, or cover and chill until needed.

Alternative: Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out a rounded tablespoon of the mixture and, using slightly moistened hands, roll into a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet and continue with the remaining mixture.

Italian Charoset

There are many variations of charoset across Italy. Some employ hard-boiled egg to help the mixture achieve a mortar-like consistency. Many use chestnuts or chestnut paste. Traditionally, the chestnuts would need to be cooked, but purchasing pre-roasted and peeled chestnuts eliminates this step.

Serves 8

3/4 cup roasted, peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup walnut halves, finely chopped
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
1 cup pitted dates, finely chopped
1 cup golden raisins, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sweet red wine or grape juice, plus more as needed
Zest and juice of 1 large orange
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey

Add the chestnuts, walnuts, apples, dates, raisins, wine, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, and honey to a food processor. Pulse, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until a smooth paste forms. If needed, drizzle in a little more wine to reach the desired consistency. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed.





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