Post-Pesach haroset questions
Every year haroset is one of the hits of the seder, and I always make enough to spread on matza the rest of the week. And every Pesach the question arises: this is so good, so easy to make, and so much more healthful than jam, so why don't we make haroset during the rest of the year? So, does anyone out there actually do that, or do you reserve it for the sedarim and the rest of Passover only?
Other haroset questions: Use a recipe or wing it? Stick to typical Ashkenazic (apple, walnut, cinnamon, and wine, more or less) if your background is Ashkenazic, or do you dabble in other haroset traditions?
(Disclaimer: I'm curious, but I'm also writing a paper on haroset for a food-centric anthropology course.)
Most years I stick to my tried-and-true Ashkenazic chariest, but one year I decided to make about seven or eight other types. A favorite is hallaq (Persian charoset).
How do you make jam with no added sugar? Isn't that just fruit?
I do think charoset sounds healthier than jam: far less sugar, the fiber of the apples, the protein and healthy fats in the nuts, even cinnamon has the reputation to lower blood sugar.
I don't make it at other times, but I often do finish it off after Pesach.
I stick to the basic ashkenazic formula but with a little twist. If I do apple, walnut, cinnamon and wine I first candy the walnut by toasting it in oil and then tossing it in cinnamon-sugar. other years I've done dried apple-almond instead of fresh apple-walnut.
I've often thought I should make it during the year, but don't. I make three types of charoset; the Ashkenazic apple (because that's where I came from), a Moroccan recipe from a Claudia Roden book with dates, cloves and cinnamon, and the third is a recipe that was inside a solicitation a few years ago that was titled "Israeli Charoset". That recipe features apricots, dates, raisins, toasted almonds with cinnamon and ginger. Did the last two just for fun and I like to explore other culinary traditions within the Jewish world. It occurred to me that the last one would be great with a cheese and cracker assortment.
For me, just another one of the traditions that is for one week of the year. Once you have it during the year, you lose all the excitement and everything that goes with it for the seder night.
We have a traditional Sephardic charoset and I wing it until it smells right.
1 lb of fresh dates
1 grated apple
Around 4/5 oz's each of ground almonds, walnuts, filberts.
Ground ginger, Ground All spice, Cinnamon. All to taste, and sorry but I dont measure, and just keep adding until I think it smells right.
I then roll it into balls, which are fairly dense. Seder night we mix it into a paste with red wine vinegar and spread it on the romaine, and sandwich at seder.
I make an Ashenazic version even if I'm not hosting a seder. No nuts in mine, but I do add those tiny zante currants. Like others, I just wing the recipe. If the apples are very tart, I might add a little honey.
If I'm doing a seder I'll also add some kind of Sephardic version for variety and because some people prefer it.
We eat loads of it during the week because it helps counteract all the meat (I don't eat much usually), eggs, and matzah!