As promised, here is the recipe I use for charoset, which is one of the elements in the Passover Seder. It's a Jule Ann original recipe, because I liked aspects of several different recipes I found, and wanted to combine them all in one place. I'm gonna have to guess at the amounts, though, because I never really measure. I just make sure I have about 2 apples for every 3 people, and go from there.
- 1/2 package of dates
- 1 cup grape juice
- 6 apples
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Put dates and grape juice in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until dates soften and fall apart to make a paste.
2. While dates are cooking, peel, core, and chop apples finely. Keep the chopped apples in a mixture of vinegar and enough water to cover in order to reduce discolouration.
3. Add cinnamon and honey to the date paste and stir well. Drain apples, and mix date paste, apples, and walnuts thoroughly.
4. Serve with matzah (and horseradish, if you're crazy like us).
Anyhow, the seder tonight went great. We had six last minute additions, so we scrambled to make sure we had enough hard-boiled eggs and everything, but then about six people didn't end up coming, so we probably could have just stuck with our original numbers. The highlight of the night for me - on top of such pleasures as everyone really enjoying it, having just enough soup and too many matzah balls, and the Passover brownies being absolutely delicious - was when I was cooking the charoset, and the date mixture started to fill the kitchen with a sweet, datey-grapey smell. I've been making this recipe for five years now, and I only make it once a year, so it's not an everyday smell. I always enjoy it, but this year was the first time that the smell really triggered all kinds of memories for me. It smelled like last year's Passover and the years before that. New traditions are great, but when new traditions start to make the transition into comfortable, regular traditions, it's an amazing feeling. I hope that, one day, my children will come home from school and smell that datey-grapey smell and have memories of all their childhood Passovers wash over them and try to sneak bites of apple when I'm not looking.