Charoset–The Star of The Seder Table

Unlike the other elements of the seder plate; roasted egg, bitter herbs, shank bone, parsley and matzo, charoset is the true stand-out. This is one dish where you can let your create juices and personal taste preferences really soar.
Most of us think of charoset, which symbolizes the brick and mortar made by Jews when they were slaves in Egypt, as a simple mixture of apples, walnuts and wine. This is indeed, the traditional Ashkenazi recipe. But given that I am half Sephardic, I have a special yearning for the recipes that include more exotic ingredients such as dates, nuts, ginger and more. In my opinion, these recipes represent a fun opportunity for some real gourmet flair on the seder plate and table.

What I truly appreciate about charoset is that this one small item can bring exciting new flavors as well as history and ethnicity to a meal that tends to be so traditional. Certainly it opens doors for other interesting recipes—and conversation!

Below are some recipes that I am considering for the first seder, this Monday. All are from the outstanding Hadassah Jewish Holiday Cookbook. I plan to make atleast 2 of them and will double or triple recipes so that we can enjoy these healthful holiday treats all week long!

Do you have any favorite charoset recipes? Please post them as a comment to this blog so everyone can share them.

Happy Passover and let’s always remember the sweetness of freedom. We can only hope that someday, everyone will be free.


Yemenite Haroset
10 pitted Dates, chopped
10 Figs, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tsp ground ginger
Red Wine
Matzah Meal

Combine fruit, sesame seeds and ginger. Add red wine and matza meal to bring it to the consistency you want.

Makes about 2 ½ cups

Israeli Haroset

15 pitted dates, chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped
3 bananas, mashed
Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup almonds, chopped
½ cup red wine
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Sugar or honey to taste
Matzah meal, if needed

Combine fruits, nuts, wine, cinnamon and sugar or honey. Add matzo meal to get the consistency you want.

Makes about 6 cups

North African Haroset

½ cup pine nuts, chopped
1 hard-cooked egg yolk, finely chopped
1 apple, peeled and grated
½ cup sugar
½ cup ground almonds
½ cup chopped walnuts
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Ground cinnamon to taste
Ground ginger to taste
Red wine—add to your desired consistency

Mix all ingredients until mixture comes together. Refrigerate.

Makes about 2 cups

Haroset from Suriname
7 oz package unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups raisins
1 ½ cups dried apples
1 ½ cups prunes
1 ½ cups dried apricots
1 ½ cups dried pears
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ cup cherry jam
Sweet red wine

1. Combine in saucepan all ingredients except cherry jam and wine. Add enough cold water to just cover fruit. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally, and adding more water if necessary.
2. Remove from heat; stir in cherry jam. Set aside to cool.
3. Add just enough sweet red wine to be absorbed by the fruit. Refrigerate until well chilled.

Makes about 9 cups


  1. Jaki Suter Said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 7:33 am

    Dried Cherry and Pear Haroset

    1/2 cup dried, pitted cherries
    1/2 cup diced dried pears
    1 cup walnut pieces
    2 fresh pears, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
    2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
    1/2 cup kosher-for-Passover sweet red wine

    Process all ingredients in food processor until a paste is formed. Taste and adjust sugar if necessary.

    Makes about 2 cups

  2. Jane Moritz Said,

    March 25, 2010 @ 7:38 am

    Thanks Jaki, that sounds delicious!!

  3. Christine Said,

    March 26, 2010 @ 5:22 am

    I love haroset, but I wonder if anyone knows of a low-sugar recipe?

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