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Sephardic Charoset

"Your love is better than wine…  Sustain me with raisons, revive me with apples, for I am faint with love.” King Solomon, Song of Songs

Song of Songs, a book of psalms written by King Solomon, is filled with beautiful verses on various foods, including honey, nuts, apples, raisons, figs, wine and spices.  Many credit Song of Songs with the creation of the Passover food haroset.

There are two types main types of haroset. Ashkenazic Jews make a very simple haroset that usually consists of apples, walnuts, cinnamon, red wine/dark grape juice, and maybe raisons. This is the haroset that most Jews in North America eat each Passover.

Sephardic Jews make a spicier haroset. Unlike the Ashkenazim, the Sephardim do not have one recipe for haroset, or one typical type of haroset. What the various recipes agree on is that haroset should include fruit, and that it should be sweet and spicy. It may include apples, but may also have other fruits, such as oranges, dates, pomegranates, figs, bananas, coconut, almonds, pistachios, pecans, raisons, cranberries, walnuts, pine nuts, apricots, prunes, peanuts, sesame seeds or pears. It may be sweetened with red wine or grape juice, but may also include orange juice, white wine, wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, sugar, brandy, or jam. They may use cinnamon like the Ashkenazim, but they may also include other spices such as ginger, cardamom, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cloves, chili pepper, or nutmeg. If, as Elijah is believed to do, we could travel to all the seders, we would get to try many different kinds of haroset.

Below are a few recipes for Sephardic haroset. Why not try something new for your Passover seder?

Sephardic Haroset 1

2 Valencia oranges, cut into bite size pieces
1 sliced ripe banana
1 cup chopped pistachios
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup honey

3 dates rolled in coconut, cut into small bite size pieces (These are available prepackaged at several local stores, or you could roll them on your own)

In a large bowl, place oranges and bananas. Add 1/4 cup honey and orange juice. Mix. Add remaining ingredients. Mix. Add 1/4 cup honey. Mix. Refrigerate 1/2 hour. Serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Sephardic Haroset 2
2 Oranges, cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup raisons
1 cup cut figs
1/4 cup muscatel or other sweet white wine
1/2 cup honey
1 Tablespoon chili pepper oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin

In a large bowl, place almonds, cranberries, raisons, and figs. Mix. Add muscatel and chili pepper oil. Mix. Add black pepper, coriander, and cumin. Mix. Add honey and oranges. Mix. Serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Sephardic Haroset 3
2 apples, cored
2 bananas, peeled
4 dates, peeled
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup white grape juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon chili pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a food processor, chop apples, bananas, dates, and spices until finely chopped. Pour into large bowl, add juices, and nuts. Stir until juice is absorbed. Refrigerate 1 hour. Serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

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