Forget mint jelly. Give me charoset.

In Recipies on March 27, 2013 at 10:42 am

Try this ‘Jewish chutney’ with your next roasted leg of lamb. It’s floral-sweet and finishes with a skyrocket blast of heat.


Passover tables bow under the weight of symbolic foods. One such food is charoset, symbolizing the mortar used by Hebrew slaves to join Pharaoh’s bricks of mud and straw.

Most North American Jews serve charoset based on a variation of Eastern European recipes containing apples, cinnamon, nuts, and raisins. A few years back, our Cantor shared an article Mortars Without Borders with her congregants. My now-lost copy gave a skeleton outline of charoset recipes enjoyed by Jews living in different regions of the world.

They all shared a similar fruit-nut base. The difference usually lived in the varied spices and flavorings used.

This year, I used a fiery recipe inspired by Jewish cuisine from Yemen. For a Persian variation, omit the cayenne.

Most of its ingredients are familiar. It may be a bit difficult to find jaloob (pomegranate molasses) in some areas. But, it’s simple to make from readily available pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice. Just mix 4 cups pomegranate juice, ½ cup sugar, and ¼ cup lemon juice. Reduce the mixture over medium heat until it is as thick as cane molasses.

My Yemeni charoset is best made in a large mortar and pestle, but a food processor can be used too. Just be sure not to pulverize things too finely. The consistency of a good charoset should be a bit lumpy and irregular.

Here we go!

You’ll need:

1 C walnut pieces

1 TBS sesame seeds, toasted

¼ C finely chopped prunes

2 TBS raisins, minced

1 TBS jaloob

¾ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

2 TBS sweet kosher wine

1 C applesauce

pinch cayenne (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients well and allow to chill in the refrigerator. After trying this, you’ll forget all about mint jelly for your next lamb roast.


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