Charoset, haroset, or charoses (Hebrew: חֲרֽוֹסֶת [ḥărōset]) is a sweet, dark-colored, chunky paste made of fruits and nuts served primarily during the Passover Seder. Its color and texture are meant to recall the mortar with which the Israelites bonded bricks when they were enslaved in Ancient Egypt as mentioned in Tractate Pesahim of the Talmud. The word "charoset" comes from the Hebrew word cheres — חרס — "clay."
The charoset serves an ancillary function with maror on the Passover Seder Plate. Before eating the maror — in the present day generally horseradish or romaine lettuce — participants dip the maror into the charoset and then shake off the charoset before eating the maror. This action symbolises how hard the Israelites worked in Egypt, combining a food that brings tears to the eyes (the maror) with one that resembles the mortar used to build Egyptian cities and storehouses (the charoset).
Despite its symbolism, the charoset is a tasty concoction and is a favorite of children. During the Seder meal, it may be eaten liberally, often spread on matzah.
There are many recipes for charoset. A typical recipe from the Eastern European (or Ashkenazi) tradition would include nuts, apples, cinnamon, and sweet wine — ingredients mentioned by King Solomon in Song of Songs as recalling the attributes of the Jewish people themselves. Honey or sugar may be used as a sweetener and binder. The mixture is not cooked.
Recipes in the Sephardi tradition are usually cooked and may include raisins and ingredients native to the Middle East such as figs, dates, and sesame seeds. For example:
- In Egypt, it is made only of dates, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, and sweet wine.
- In Greece and Turkey, it consists of apples, dates, chopped almonds, and wine.
- In Iraq and Central Asia, it sometimes consists of grape jelly
- In Italy, it can include chestnuts
- In Spanish and Portuguese communities of the New World, such as Suriname, it may include coconut.
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Jerusalem Charoset Recipe, cookeatshare.com
Charoset for Passover, www.thejerusalemconnection.us