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Posted on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 8 a.m.

Charoset for Passover - delicious fruit mixture can be incorporated into a variety of dishes

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

I know it's a little bit early to be offering a recipe for charoset [hah-ROH-set], which is a fruit mixture served at Passover; it represents the mortar used by the Jews during their enslavement in Egypt, and is an integral part of the Seder which commemorates the flight to freedom.  But although it's early, giving this to you today serves two purposes:

1. You'll have the recipe for next Friday evening, when Passover begins at sundown, without thinking "Gee, if only she'd provided that a few days earlier, I could have bought the ingredients and had it ready!"

2. You'll have this at your disposal when you see tomorrow's cookie recipe, which uses the charoset as a thumbprint filling.  The cookies are an entry into Project PB&J, a food bloggers' competition, so it was necessary to post them - and thus the charoset - this week.

This is a variation on a recipe which was a co-winner at the Charoset Throwdown held at a local synagogue in 2008; I've simplified it here.  It had originally called for several more ingredients and extra steps that can be saved without losing quality of taste or consistency.

European-style (Ashkenazi) charoset tends to feature apples and wine, while Middle Eastern (Sephardi) varieties often employ dates and figs.  And just as each family has its own special recipes for other holidays, every family serves a different type of charoset for Passover; some have one favorite, others serve an assortment, and still others try a new one each year.

At the Throwdown, I was thrilled to have someone tell me that my charoset "tastes just like candy."  And another woman suggested that it would make a lovely filling for hamantaschen at Purim, which it most certainly would if I ever remembered to use it as such instead of only thinking of this as a Passover dish!

Whether you schmear this onto matzah, use it as a filling, or just eat it with a spoon, I hope you enjoy it ... and tomorrow's cookies featuring this delicious fruit mixture, too.

Fig and Date Charoset 

2 tablespoons butter (or pareve substitute) 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup ginger ale 2 cups chopped dates 2 cups dried Black Mission figs, chopped

Melt the butter and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Stir in the connamon and ginger ale; bring to a boil over high heat.  Add the dates and figs; cook over low heat for 2 minutes, until fruit softens.  Mash the mixture together until the liquid is absorbed and the charoset is glossy.

Makes 2 cups.

Here are some other recipes for you to enjoy at Passover:

Chocolate Caramel Matzah

Custard with Strawberry Sauce

Vegetable Cheese Mina

Roasted Radishes

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Mary Bilyeu writes about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions:

You should also visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related.

The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.



Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:05 p.m.

Mary, I am mystified why so much (95%) of the food you post is either brown, tan or gray. Do you have something against fresh green, red, orange and yellow vegetables? If you look over your Food Floozie recipes you can't miss this fact. I'm sorry, the Ann Arbor News used to have wonderful food columns and I miss them. By the way, I have nothing against Jewish food or people. I'm talking about the food.

Mary Bilyeu

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:22 p.m.

I have nothing against any of those foods, and both eat and feature them often. You must have missed the lentil salad with red tomatoes and yellow peppers ... the asparagus with egg ... the tri-colored peppers with papaya ... the red chorizo chili ... the orange-date salad ... the Mexican pizza with vibrant red salsa and vegetables ... the cherry pie ... the salmon ... the poached egg with spinach. I can't help that chocolate and peanut butter - two of my favorite ingredients, which are enormously popular with many people, so I offer them with some regularity - happen to be brown/tan ....


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:13 p.m.

that's an interesting observation. My own recollections of a culturally ( if not religiously) jewish upbringing featured, as the dominant green, dill pickles. A frequent explanation is that many of the jews in the U.s come from eastern european regions where fresh greens and other produce were less prominent in the cuisine than easier stored root and starch vegetables.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

this mixture is good on matzoh with a dab of horseradish ( another passover symbolic condiment), ,and as such is known as a "hillel sandwich" for the famous ancient rabbi...the mix of sweet and sour representing the polarities of oppression and redemption. and i can so guess ( within a range of 3 ) who and what the deleted comment( er) was and at this holiday season wish them: "get a life".

Mary Bilyeu

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

Have no fear - it was merely spam!