I was just asked to bring nut-free charoset to the seders for 20 people. Anyone have any good recipes?
And because I'm sure someone can answer this question as well - considering they are at their best in the fall, how did apples get to play such a prominent part in charoset?
Here's a nut free charoset recipe from my file. Originally from Weight Watcher's Magazine April 1992:
2 small pears, cored and coarsely chopped
12 dried apricot halves, chopped (I think you could use other dried fruit, prunes for example if you can't find apricots that are kosher for passover)
1/4 cup raisins
1 1/2 tsp honey (could be omitted in my opinion)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tablespoons red wine (or grape juice)
Combine everything except the wine or juice in a medium bowl. Once it's all mixed together, stir in the wine or juice. (Recipe says this serves 12, so you may want to add accordingly)
I have another that requires a food processor:
20 figs 2 tsp ginger powder
matzo meal as desired
dry red wine
i chili pepper (optional)
Put everything in a food processor and make into a paste. This is a Yemenite style recipe, so the original includes 4 Tbs sesame seeds. I think you could easily omit for Ashkenaz adaptation.
I agree with the others. Apples keep very well. Some of our friends with Lithuanian ancestry survive almost totally on potatoes which they use for karpas. Potatoes and other root vegetables are not really spring like if you live in a mild climate, but they were still around if kept through the winter. Living in Berkeley, we celebrate with asparagus and strawberries!!
Probably the best charoset without nuts is the common Sephardic one with dates, cinnamon and wine. It does call for nuts, but it pasty and muddy looking and the absence of the nuts wouldn't be such a big deal. Just looked up charoset in Gil Marks' "Encyclopedia of Jewish Food". As with most of Judaism, no answer is simple and his entry was 2 pages detailing the history (excluding the recipes). One interesting connection he mentions is that Israelite women were supposed to have given birth in "tapuach" orchards and also in Kabbalah a tapuach is a symbol of the divine presence. Nobody really knows what the original tapuach was but it came to be translated as apple. Read his description. Who knew there was so much involved!
There's a lot of regional variation in recipes. If I had to guess, apples are cheap and plentiful throughout Europe and the U.S. so the Ashkenaz recipes make use of them. Sephardic recipes include indigenous fruits like dates and raisins.
I've seen some recipes with coconut, which may add some body if you chop or grate it coarsely.