American Jews, most of whom are of Ashkenazi descent, think of apples, nuts and sweet wine when it comes to charoset. Indeed fruit, wine and nuts are the key ingredients to any charoset, but variations do exist when one starts exploring Jewish cuisines further afield from Eastern Europe.
Here are some varieties to try this year, gleaned from the Nosher. Charoset isn’t an exact recipe, so make these to taste. You’ll notice that most share the same core ingredients, and the variation usually comes down to it being fruit or spice heavy. But there is one that is truly different — will anyone dare to try it? In terms of texture, it’s also to taste — chunky or more of a paste, it’s up to you, though purists may prefer a mortar-like consistency and color. If you do prefer a thicker variety, you can form the charoset into small balls, which is often done in Sephardic communities.
Sugar or honey, sweet red wine, tart apples, walnuts or almonds, cinnamon.
Walnuts, sweet red wine, dates, raisins or sultanas.
Sweet wine, pine nuts, ground almonds, dates, prunes, raisins or sultanas, sugar or honey, ground ginger, cinnamon, sweet or tart apples, pears.
Walnuts, ground cloves, cinnamon, dates, sweet red wine.
Sugar, sweet red wine, cooked chestnuts, blanched almonds, hard-boiled egg yolks, orange zest, orange juice.
Walnuts, sugar, raisins, orange juice, orange zest, sweet apples, dates, sweet red wine.
The Jewish “chutney” is a perfect antidote to pungent horseradish and makes for a healthy breakfast or snack spread on a piece of matzah. Another breakfast option is to dollop the charoset on top of plain yogurt. So make a big bowl to snack on through the eight days.