Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Candied Walnuts

Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Cayenne Candied Walnuts - Traditional Passover Recipe with a Twist

Charoset is a fruit and nut mixture that is used as a blessing for the Passover Seder. The texture of charoset symbolizes the mortar used by the ancient Israelite slaves of Egypt when they toiled under the rule of Pharaoh. 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!

My family’s charoset recipe is pureed to a paste before serving, Sephardic-style. Many of my Seder guests prefer the chunkier Ashkenazi style, so over the years I have created my own version. Most Ashkenazi charoset recipes are pretty simple, a mix of apples, sweet kosher wine, walnuts and spices. Of course I wanted to create my own spin on this concept. I developed a basic apple charoset, heavy on cinnamon and spice, sweetened with wine and honey. Then, rather than integrating walnuts into the charoset, I candied them with cayenne for a crunchy finish with a kick of spice. The walnuts here are served as a topping to the charoset; you shouldn’t mix them in or they’ll lose their delicious candied crunch.

This charoset can be made ahead– in fact, I encourage you to marinate it overnight before serving to improve the flavor. The nuts can also be candied ahead of time and stored separately from the charoset. Sprinkle on the candied nuts just before you put it on the table, or serve the nuts alongside the charoset and allow people to sprinkle their own onto each serving.

Note: this is an updated version of a recipe I posted back in 2010, not long after I started this blog. I like this new version much better than the original! I hope you will too. :)

Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Cayenne Candied Walnuts - Traditional Passover Recipe with a Twist

Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Candied Walnuts

Apple Cinnamon Charoset Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. Gala or Fuji apples (about 4 medium apples)
  • 5-6 tbsp sweet kosher wine
  • 1 tbsp honey (use agave to make vegan)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • Salt to taste

Candied Walnut Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw walnuts (no shell)
  • 1/2 egg white
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg (optional)
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 24 Hours
Servings: About 8 servings for Seder

To Make Charoset

  • Peel and core the apples, then chop them fine. I usually put them in a food processor and pulse a few times till they're chopped fine but with texture. Careful, it's easy to over-chop if you go this route and you could end up with applesauce!
  • Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Cayenne Candied Walnuts - Traditional Passover Recipe with a TwistPlace the chopped apples in a bowl. Stir in 5 tbsp sweet kosher wine, honey, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and a pinch of salt (to taste). Taste the mixture; if you feel it needs more moisture or sweetness, add a bit more kosher wine. The wine will be soaked up a bit as the charoset marinates, but you don't want it puddling too much at the bottom of the bowl... a little puddling is fine.
  • Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Cayenne Candied Walnuts - Traditional Passover Recipe with a TwistCover the bowl, place in the refrigerator, and allow the mixture to marinate for 24 hours.

To Make Candied Walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Separate egg white from yolk, then pour half of the egg white into a mixing bowl (just eyeball this, it doesn't half to be exact). Use a whisk to beat the egg white till frothy, then beat in the sugar, salt, cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add the walnuts to the egg mixture and stir till the walnuts are fully coated in the seasoned egg white mixture.
  • Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Cayenne Candied Walnuts - Traditional Passover Recipe with a TwistSpread the walnuts out on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat. Bake for 15-20 minutes till crisp. Remove sheet from the oven and allow the nuts to cool on the sheet.
  • Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Cayenne Candied Walnuts - Traditional Passover Recipe with a TwistPour the candied nuts onto a cutting board and roughly chop them into smaller pieces.
  • Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Cayenne Candied Walnuts - Traditional Passover Recipe with a TwistSprinkle on the candied nuts just before you put it on the table, or serve the nuts alongside the charoset and allow people to sprinkle their own onto each serving. The walnuts here are served as a topping to the charoset; you shouldn't mix them in or they'll lose their delicious candied crunch.
  • Apple Cinnamon Charoset with Cayenne Candied Walnuts - Traditional Passover Recipe with a Twist
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Category: Appetizers, Condiments, Finger Foods and Dips, Gluten Free, In the Kitchen, Pareve, Passover, Passover - Ashkenazi, Passover - Gluten Free Ashkenazi, Passover - Gluten Free Sephardic, Passover - Sephardic, Passover - Vegan Ashkenazi, Passover - Vegan Sephardic, Passover - Vegetarian Ashkenazi, Passover - Vegetarian Sephardic, Recipes, Slide Show, Tomato Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Comments (33)Post a Comment

  1. BalabustaBarbie says:

    Thank you for this one! I like your spin on it, and I’ve been getting tired of mine the same every year. Fingers crossed!!!

    Barb

  2. We also use a Sephardic Haroset in our home (one of the few things that we specifically use a sephardic recipe!). I can’t wait to see your recipe. My next blog entry will be food based, so watch for it!

    Anyway, something interesting about Haroset. The Talmud give two reasons why we have Haroset on the seder plate. Zekher l’teet and Zekher L’tapuakh, in remembrance of the mortar and in remembrance of the apple. Remembrance of the mortar is obvious, as it is the reason everyone knows. The Talmud tells a little story to explain the apple. The midrash tells us that when killing the children did not work, Pharaoh decreed that the men and women should be kept separate so that no more babies could be born. But during the heat of the day, when the people would rest from work, the women would go under the apple trees and entice their husbands to lie with them. The midrash then tells us it is due to the efforts of the women that Jewish people survived slavery. So in remembrance of the apple, we have Haroset. Perhaps that is why ALL Haroset recipes have apples in them.

    • Tori Avey says:

      Barb, let me know how it turns out for you!

      Phil, great info! Figs, pomegranates, and dates are also traditional charoset ingredients, because of references throughout the Song of Songs and Passover’s association with the season of spring (fertility, rebirth). While it is true that most (if not all) Ashkenazi charoset recipes contain apples, Sephardic charosets are usually apple-free. Sephardic charoset is usually date-based with additional dried fruits, figs, and nuts like pistachios. While some contain apples, it is not required by Sephardic tradition. In fact, I’ve even tasted a Sephardic charoset made from oranges! (It was really tasty!) There are many cultural food differences between Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews (like kitniyot, for example). That’s one of the reasons I love Jewish cooking so much… the methods of preparing traditional dishes are so diverse! Take cholent, for example– or as some refer to it, chamin– I have no less than 20 different ways of making cholent. Every country uses different spices and regional ingredients for creating the same basic dish. I find it all fascinating, don’t you? :)

  3. jennifer Blake says:

    Candied walnutes is such a cool idea! thank you tori!!! will try this

  4. Leah says:

    My family is from Syria.We don’t add apples to our haroseth,ours has dates,figs, prunes and raisins.This recipe looks delicious though maaybe I’ll try making two this year!

  5. Learn something new every day! I had not met a Haroset without apples. Anyway, mine is date based as well, and will be up on my blog next week!

  6. Nancy Schwartz says:

    Not only do I love the recipes, I love the lessons in conjunction with them (or, as Phil refers to them, the midrash). Food certainly has a way of telling a great deal about different people and different cultures and I guess that’s one of the things I find so enjoyable about it, not to mention the gastric satisfaction. I’m really enjoying your blogs. Thanks

  7. Nancy K says:

    I second those emotions, Nancy S! My family is from Minsk and Pinsk (originally) and these recipes really take me back to when I was a little girl driving up to Chicago for Pesach with Bubbe! Happy Pesach, everyone! Thanks for this blog, Tori.

    Nancy

  8. Lynn says:

    Love your website and all of the fabulous info and recipies! I am making a Sephardic Passover Seder this year and would love your families Charoset recipe. Where can I find it? Thanks and happy Passover!

  9. Oh nice change up! Gonna have to do this this year! looks YUMMY! TY

  10. Tina Brown says:

    I love my charoset recipe but adding cayenne candied walnuts sound awesome.

  11. For sure going to make this.

  12. A friend in Dallas always shared her special charoset made with cayenne for a Texas kick. Yummy!

  13. I use dates and figs to replace apples. Or pears

  14. What kind of wine do you use Tori? When I see sweet kosher wine I think Mogen David.

  15. Mike Janning says:

    We are having Seder with neighbors. For my contribution, I am making a Persian Charoses or Halleq, a Persian-style leg of lamb, and Israeli salad with crumbled feta.

  16. Our charoset comes out like a kind of jam, delicious. Just raisins slacked in water, cooked. Blended and nuts added. Delish. Of Lebanese origin.

  17. i like the traditional charoset…sweet…at least for seder…BUT in the days after sure i would try something different…

  18. The yummiest item on the Seder plate.

  19. I love it so much and I have a great recipe for it. My whole family eats it with the Matzoh it’s awesome. I always make extra cause if I don’t my family gets annoyed. LOL

  20. I keep the family tradition alive and make the charoses like my grandfather showed me.I carefully choose just the right apple, chop it with walnuts, add the sweet kosher wine and cinnamon. That’s it. I hope my children and grandchildren continue the family traditions.

  21. do you have a recipe for the regular old fashioned haroset?

    • Tori Avey says:

      Ozzie you can use this recipe as a base. Instead of candying the walnuts, keep them raw and chop them up, then stir them into the apples. Moisten with additional wine if needed; add additional honey or spices to taste. That will give you a regular old-fashioned Ashkenazi-style charoset. :)

  22. Carol Janssen says:

    Didn’t have time to do it ahead, I’m making it about 4 hours ahead of Seder. Hope it will be ok.

    Happy Passover!

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