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Food

Mimi Sheraton Says Charoset Is Not Just For Pesach Anymore

Although it stands as a symbolic reminder of the mortar used by the Jewish slaves who built the pyramids in Egypt, the fragrant spread called charoset deserves more than a once-a-year ritual appearance at the Passover Seder table.

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The rich fruit spread is made in two lovely versions, delectable either for breakfast or tea-time on toasted English muffins, matzos or firm, lightly sweetened, toasted pound cake. The Ashkenazic standard is a chopped blend of tart, juicy apples, walnuts, red kosher-style sweet wine, sugar, cinnamon and powdered ginger. Macintosh apples are the perfect choice with Macouns as good stand-ins.

Sephardic Jews prepare a richer, midnight-dark mix, chopping dried fruits such as dates, raisins and figs with walnuts or pistachios, and simmering the lot in wine and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. Both types ripen to maximum flavor when prepared in advance and chilled for twenty-four hours before serving. The Ashkenazic version, if refrigerated, will keep for three days, while the Sephardic will keep for several weeks.

Tip: For Ashkenazic charoset, the fortified red aperitif wine Dubonnet is a good substitute for kosher sweet wine.

Charoset Recipes From The Forward

Mimi Sheraton is an award-winning cookbook author and former restaurant critic for the New York Times.

Essay excerpted from “1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List,” © 2014 by Mimi Sheraton. Used by permission of Workman Publishing Co., Inc., New York. All Rights Reserved.

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