Charoset is an integral part of Jewish Passover cuisine. It is used as a blessing for the Seder, to remind us of the mortar the Jewish slaves of Egypt were forced to work with before they were freed from bondage. Most Jews have a soft spot for charoset; eating it signifies the end of the long Haggadah blessings and the beginning of the Seder feast. In our home, we make extra charoset for the Seder and nosh on it all week!
I personally prefer Sephardic-style charoset, which is pureed to a fine paste before serving. However, many of my Seder guests prefer the chunkier Ashkenazi style, so I created my own version with candied walnuts and spices. It is best served at room temperature, but don’t keep it out of the refrigerator for longer than a few hours at a time. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container.
I will post our family’s Sephardic-style charoset recipe tomorrow!
SPICED CHAROSET WITH CANDIED WALNUTS
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp white sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/8 tsp plus 1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 egg white
1 heaping cup walnut halves
Walnut oil or cooking spray
4 apples, peeled and cored (I prefer Pink Lady or Gala apples)
1/2 cup sweet kosher wine
Makes about 4 cups of charoset
Kosher Key: Pareve, Kosher for Passover
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, mix together brown sugar, 1 tbsp of white sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, salt and cayenne pepper with a fork until thoroughly blended. In a separate bowl, whip the egg white until light and frothy. Toss walnut halves in the egg white, mixing until well coated. Transfer walnuts to the other bowl and coat well with the sugar mixture.
Grease a cookie sheet with walnut oil or cooking spray. Place sugar-coated walnuts on the cookie sheet, spreading them out evenly. Put cookie sheet in the top rack of the oven and bake for 30 minutes, turning nuts once halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, dice the apples into fine pieces and place them in a medium-sized bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together kosher wine, 2 tbsp white sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg.
Chop the candied walnuts into small bits and put them in the bowl with the apples, making sure to add all the sugary crumbs. Pour the spiced wine over the apples and nuts. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
Serve charoset at room temperature as part of the Seder blessing, and as a topping for leftover matzos. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container.