Charoset―the fruit and nut mixture that symbolizes the mortar used by Israelite slaves in Egypt―is a Passover icon, and may be the most delicious symbolic food enjoyed at the Seder. It's also an amazing snapshot of the Jewish diaspora, as Jewish communities around the world have their own unique takes on charoset, driven by the ingredients that were available to them. Serving an international charoset recipe alongside a treasured family one is a lovely way to pay tribute to the traditions of fellow Jews from around the world.
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For many Ashkenazi Jews, this apple and walnut charoset recipe will probably seem very familiar―a combination of apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and wine may be the most common charoset recipe to hail from Eastern Europe. Apples likely came to star in this charoset thanks to their availability in cooler climes. But they also carry symbolic meaning in Jewish mysticism, while the Talmudists believed they held special healing properties, so their use in charoset has been imbued with additional meaning over the centuries.
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Think of this Israeli charoset with mixed nuts as a hybrid between Ashkenazi and Sephardi-style charoset. The recipe includes apples, several types of nuts, raisins, and bananas. A splash of orange juice, in addition to wine, brightens the flavors. The recipe is kitniyot- free and non-gebrokts, so it's a good choice for those who hold by those stringencies, but still want to try something new at the Seder.
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For those who need alcohol-free recipes, blogger Alessandra Rovati of dinnerinvenice.com offers traditional Italian charoset recipes. A cooked version from Padua uses orange, chestnuts, apricots, apples, dates, walnuts, bananas, and spices. A recipe from Livorno includes pear, figs, pine nuts, and pistachios, and a third from Acqui Piemonte includes matzo, dates, and almonds.
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This recipe for Ronnie Fein's dried fruit charoset with Ginger and Coriander with ginger and coriander is by the well-known chef behind the popular kosher cookbooks The Modern Kosher Kitchen and Hip Kosher. For those who don't eat kitniyot, she suggests using nutmeg and cinnamon in place of the coriander and garnishing the charoset with almonds instead of sesame seeds. She also shared her recipe for haroset with pistachios and pepper, which she adapted from a Persian recipe and continued tweaking over the years until it was exactly to her liking. The recipe features an intriguing mix of dried fruit, pistachios, almonds, fresh apples, and warming spices including cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne.