Charoset is one of the 6 symbolic foods on the seder plate during Passover, but beyond being symbolic it’s actually pretty delicious, too. It can be spelled Haroset or Charoset, both are correct (kind of like Hanukkah/Chanukah).
My family keeps eating it even after it has served its role in the Seder ceremony — we are pretty loosey goosey on both my husband’s side and mine about the Seder so snacking on Seder plate foods is quite acceptable as the readings go on (and they do go on).
What is Charoset?
The word charoset is derived from the Hebrew word for clay, cheres. Charoset is usually made from sweet fruits and nuts, along with some red wine, and it represents the mortar used by Jewish slaves in the building of pyramids and other structures for the Egyptian masters. The classic ingredients, fruit, nuts, and wine, are all nods to verses in the bible.
What are the Basic Ingredients in Charoset?
Most American Jews who celebrate Passover, least in the Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, which both my husband’s family and mine fall into, have probably had some combo of apples, nuts, and red wine, possibly seasoned with ginger or cinnamon. There are plenty of other fruit and nut ingredient combos to play with, but that’s the most common in the Ashkenazi world – Sephardic Jews interpretation of Charoset can be much more varied.
So this recipe is for the classic apple based Charoset, at least classic for my family. But it’s not all that classic, because the nuts, which I am deathly allergic to, are optional. You can include them or leave them out as you wish.
Wine in Charoset
It is traditional to use sweet wine, such as Manischewitz when making charoset (and this is not a wine I have in my house for any other purpose – it’s SWEET). You can also use any red wine you have open, but taste the mixture, and if it is not as sweet as you would like, add a bit more sugar.
As for texture, some people like it pretty roughly chopped, and I have also seen it ground into almost a paste, which doesn’t appeal to me at all.
How to Make Charoset
Place the apples into a food processor. Pulse a few times until as finely minced you like. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the apples by hand to the consistency you like and simply mix up everything in a bowl.
Turn the apples into a bowl and add the sugar.
Lemon zest (if using; this is my little twist on the traditional).
Cinnamon, salt, and nuts (if using).
Toss well to combine.
Serve the charoset with matzoh.
Other Passover Recipes:
- Chicken Marbella for Passover
- Jewish Brisket for the Holidays
- Matzoh Brei
- Chocolate Covered Caramel Matzoh
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- 4 apples , such as McIntosh or Gala or Fuji, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons sugar , or to taste
- ⅓ cup sweet red wine , such as Manischewitz (see Note)
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
- Place the apples into a food processor. Pulse a few times until as finely minced you like. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop the apples by hand to the consistency you like and simply mix up everything in a bowl.
- Turn the apples into a bowl and add the sugar, wine, lemon zest (if using), cinnamon, salt, and nuts (if using).
- Serve the charoset with matzoh.
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