Charoset from the Four Corners of the Earth
Ruth Abusch-Magder, March 22, 2013
Charoset is the star of the Seder plate. Amidst the parsley leafs and lamb shanks, this sweet sticky treat teases and tantalizes as we make our way through the story telling. Charoset recalls the mortar used by the Israelites when they were slaves. The Jews, spread over the four corner of the earth, brought the story of the Exodus and the celebration of Passover to every land. With time, the recipes for Charoset reflected local ingredients and tastes. Consider making several types of Charoset for Passover this year and inviting an international flair to your table.
Tziporah Sizomu's Charoset Recipe
Abayudaya Jews of Uganda
Tziporah Sizomu is a leader in the Abayudaya community in Uganda. Her husband Gershom is the community rabbi and Tziporah is responsible for the Shabbat and holiday meals that are eaten together by the Abayudaya as a community. Apples are expensive, as they must be imported from South Africa, while peanuts, known as groundnuts, are local to Uganda.
4 cups roasted peanuts
3 apples, chopped fine
2 bananas, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sweet wine
1. Grind the peanuts in a blender and place them in a medium-sized bowl. Rural Ugandans use a mortar and pestle. They donít have blenders as very few have electricity.
2. Mix with the chopped apples and bananas.
3. Add the wine and stir.
4. Add the honey and mix everything together. (If it isnít thick enough, add more peanuts)
Brenda Rosenbaumís Charoset
Brenda Rosenbaum, is the founder of Mayan Hands. She grew up in Guatemala and left as a young adult due to the civil war. Her family is half Ashkenazi and half Sephardic. Her mother lives in Guatemala City and this is her recipe. This recipe came via Ilana Schatz of Fair Trade Judaica, www.fairtradejudaica.org. In Guatemala City today there is a small but strong Reform Jewish community, Adat Israel, www.adat-israel.com, where they happily blend elements of Jewish tradition with Guatemalan culture.
1 pound dates
2 granny smith apples
1 cup chopped nuts (macadamia nuts are native to Guatemala)
1. Soak dates in hot water for a few hours.
2. Drain the dates but put them in the food processor but don't process them completely, leave some chunks in it.
3. Peal and cut apples into one inch chunks.
4. Put apple pieces in pan, and bring to boil with a bit of water. Simmer until they become puree.
5. Mix dates and apples.
6. Add cinnamon to taste, sweet wine.
7. Just prior to serving add chopped nuts.
Rabbi Ruthís Charoset Recipe
Sweet with a touch of the sour with a red tinge which reminds us of the mixed emotions with which we greet our freedom, always recalling the hard work and suffering that preceded the Exodus.
1 cup dried figs
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup roasted hazelnuts
1 large or 2 small whole blood oranges
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (available at Middle Eastern markets)
Additional orange juice as needed
1. Cut blood oranges into quarters or chunks depending on size.
2. Place all the ingredients except the orange juice in food processor
3. Pulse until mixture resembles a paste.
4. If mixture is too dry add a tablespoon of additional orange juice and pulse again. Repeat until the mixture is moist.
Nedelia Tedeschi of Turin, Italy
From Claudia Rodenís The Book of Jewish Food
1/2 lb cooked chestnuts
2/3 cup blanced alomonds
2 hard-boild egg yolks
zest of one orange
Juice of one orange
3/4 cup sweet kosher wine
2/3 cup sugar or more to taste
1. Boil the chestnuts for a minute or two and drain
2. Grind the almonds fine in the food processor
3. Add rest of the ingredients and process into a paste.