My favorite holiday is Passover. I love the tradition of it and the lack of commercialism surrounding it. My favorite part of the holiday is the seder dinner – making the meal, setting the table, putting together the seder plate, reading the Haggadah (we finally bought new ones and graduated from the Maxwell House version), and, of course, eating.
This year, we went to our friends DM & EM’s for the first night seder. It was wonderful. We have a tradition of spending this holiday together – and because Passover frequently falls during spring break when we are away, we have a seder to mark the holiday whenever we can. This year, both families were home for the big night, on the big night. DM & EM prepared a great dinner. We all relaxed, drank fabulous wine and gorged ourselves on the succulent matzo ball soup, moist and flavorful brisket, whipped potatoes, and perfect vegetables.
My assignment was Charoset and dessert. Dessert was pretty simple. DM said, “You can’t go wrong with chocolate.” So, I made my friend AM’s flourless chocolate cake. I experimented with some macaroons that I hoped would be like french macarons. When I looked for a recipe, I realized that all of the french macaron recipes that I could find had confectioner’s sugar in them. This contains corn starch, and so was not good for the seder dinner. I ended up trying to use an equal weight of baker’s sugar plus a little potato starch. Not my best, but they tasted pretty good. Not worthy of a photo, that is for sure. I think I’ll go back to regular almond macaroons and coconut macaroons next year.
When I made the Charoset, I actually put together a recipe. I have always just put in a little of this and a little of that and adjusted as I went along. Why don’t we eat this delicious concoction all year long? Charoset on a latke instead of applesauce, maybe?
My version is fairly sweet and is made with pecans, instead of walnuts. I am not a huge walnut fan, and I have a mild allergic reaction when I eat them, so I stay away from them. I also use the food processor to do all of the chopping, except the dates. It makes the job much quicker.
Here is my recipe for posterity.
makes 4 cups
1 cup pecan halves
3 large apples, peeled
9 medjool dates
1 1/4 cups Maneschewitz Concord Grape wine
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp. honey, or to taste
1) Chop nuts to medium fine, and transfer to a large bowl
2) Chop apples to medium fine, and add to the pecans
3) Chop dates, into small pieces. Put in a small bowl and mix with 1/2 cup of the wine to make sure that the dates aren’t clumped together.
4) Add the dates in the wine to the apples and pecans. Stir in the rest of the wine, the cinnamon and the smaller amount of honey. Stir until all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Taste and add more honey, if needed.
5) The charoset will look fairly wet – keep stirring, as the apples and nuts will begin to absorb some of the wine. Cover and chill for several hours, or up to 2 days, stirring occasionally to distribute the wine.