For Pesach, I observe the rules for Ashkenazi Jews with respect to kitniyot – no legumes, no rice, no most of what I eat every day – but when it comes to the seder and the charoses, I am more than happy to go do as the Sephardim do.
Charoses, used to symbolize the mortar that bound the bricks the Israelites were forced to labor over, is usually just apple and honey and nuts and a good glug of Manischewitz if you’re Ashkenazi. To this I add dates, raisins, cinnamon, and cardamom and I usually have to make it by the quart because it goes fast.
This is best made in advance so the flavors have time to meld and the dried fruit has time to dissolve. I usually do it the night before and adjust the morning of.
Two Macintoshes and a Gala…
… this was a good year in that I remembered to dice the apples small the first time and didn’t have to go a second round.
The dates and raisins should be chopped, but you don’t have to go crazy with it, especially if you’re making it far enough in advance that the dried fruit will break down.
I still hate shelling cardamom, but it’s really what makes the difference here. I always worry that I’ll go over or under – I’ve done both – but since too much is really too much, err on the side of caution and then see how it tastes in a few hours. I didn’t use all of this. I think I went with… three? Five?
The finished product, immediately after. I didn’t take a photo of it the next evening before packing it up for the seder, but the dried fruit had macerated enough that there was a nice, thick, glossy brown sauce that worked well to hold everything together (like the mortar it’s supposed to be). It sort of looked like very thick pie filling, actually.