The holidays always present us with opportunities to reflect and improve. This Passover, I’m doing just that. Reflecting on where I was last Spring, appreciating the new family members (like my adorable niece) that will be celebrating with us this year, and even reflecting on past Passovers. Like this one, where I made Golden White Cranberry Charoset (a sweet wine-soaked apple mixture representing mortar used to build pyramids when the Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt thousands of years ago). Can we say: throwback to my original blog layout from 2009 look that really does look retro in color and style?
Since I have several food allergies, including one with nuts, traditionally a key component in this symbolic dish, I created that dried-fruit alternative in 2009 and have stayed pretty close to that made-up recipe every year since. As I take my reflections and use them to make this Passover and this year even better than those in the past as well as celebrate the freedom that this holiday represents, I’ve taken the liberty of adding a new ingredient to my version this year. I was looking for something dense, but not necessarily crunchy, to give the mixture some depth and a taste that would slightly counteract the lip-smacking sweetness of the extra sweet wine, Honeycrisp apples, and sugary tri-colored raisin mix. What is this mystery ingredient? Dried apricots! They add a little bittersweetness to the mix and the texture I was looking for.
Despite the fact that I attended the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA) recipe-writing class this week and learned all about how important exact measurements and instructions are to a successful outcome, I’ll admit I eye-balled all of this 6-ingredient Charoset. Most of that is because you can add any of the elements to your taste and liking. If you’re not a raisin nut, don’t use them at all, or use a few, (golden are really key), if you like a lot of cinnamon or wine, add some extra. Here’s a rough recipe (so rebellious of me!) just for you, adapted from my original! I hope you try this new-age version of an old-time Jewish recipe classic.
- 1 package golden raisins (I used a tri-colored raisin package this time)
- 1 package Craisins (dried cranberries, or a few ounces from the bulk department in most grocery stores)
- 1 package of dried apricot halves
- About 10-15 apples for batch that fills a large serving bowl or dish(I prefer a mix of Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Jazz apples..they are the sweetest…if you haven’t had one of these varieties, IRebeccammend them!) Note: I picked these three varieties yesterday too without even consulting this original recipe! I must know myself well
- 1 bottle of Manischewitz Cream White Concord Wine or any other Kosher for Passover sweet white wine
- 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons of honey (there should be enough sweetness, but apples and honey just go together :)) Note: actually left out the honey this year because it was already so sweet with the extra-sweet wine I found.
- Cut apples into slices, and then cut the slices in half, peel half of them, and place them all in a food processor.
- Dice the apricot halves.
- Add raisins, craisins, and dried apricots in with each batch of apples you add to the processor.
- Grind the apples/dried fruit mixture in the food processor until there are no larger pieces left.
- Add to your bowl for refrigeration or serving dish.
- Repeat Steps 1-4 until all apples are diced/shredded.
- Add about 1 cup of the sweet white wine, or to taste, and toss throughout with a spoon (try not to add tooo much, to avoid soggy-ness)
- Add about 1/4 cup ground cinnamon, or to taste and toss throughout with a spoon (this, combined with the sweet wine is what creates the memorable taste of charoset, so don’t forget the cinnamon!)
- Add about 2 tablespoons of honey to the apple mixture and toss throughout with a spoon. (Optional)
- Cover your bowl or dish tightly since apples oxidize when cut open and exposed to the air ((ask my science fair project repeated circa years 1995-1998), and will turn brown.
- Refrigerate before serving…tastes best if you let it refrigerate overnight to soak up all the flavors.
- Serve and enjoy!
I think maybe next year, we’ll try to infuse our El Pasoan bordered roots into our menu, like this Mexican Passover recently featured in the Austin American-Statesman!. Who says we don’t have the freedom to spice up our traditional recipes? Hey, as long as bread’s not involved…Happy Passover (or Easter)!