Five Charoset Recipes from Around the World

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Syrian Haroset

Syrian Haroset- Victoria Dwek

My father-in-law, a Rav, told me he was once asked, “Why is haroset delicious if it represents such sad things?” He responded, “Every difficulty in life is really sweet—they are blessings from G-d.” Every ingredient in the haroset is symbolic of the Jewish labor in Egypt. The walnuts are the pebbles of the bricks. The dates represent the mud, and the wine is the blood of the babies who were used in place of bricks when the quotas weren’t filled. As most Sepharadim eat gebrokts, the matzah meal represents the straw, also used to make bricks. This recipe is from my husband’s grandmother a”h, Rosa Dwek, from Aleppo, Syria.

Moroccan Charoset Balls - Lauren Dadoun

Moroccans roll charoset into balls and place individual servings on each plate. That’s what I always remembered in my grandmother’s home, and that’s what I do today. When I first got married, for the first 10 years, my family and I would travel back to Montreal to spend the holiday. When I started making my own Pesach, I called my mother, not knowing what to do or what recipes to use. This is my great grandmother’s authentic charoset recipe, straight from Casablanca.

Persian Charoset—Haleg - Reyna Simnegar, from Persian Cooking from the Non-Persian Bride

Persian charoset (Haleg) is fabulous! This is my mother-in-law’s charoset recipe. I buy already ground walnuts and almonds to make my life easier. I also purchase date paste so I don’t have to grind that either. The rest of the ingredients I process together into a wet paste similar in texture to chummus. Charoset spice is made by Sadaf and you can get it online; or simply mix equal parts of cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. Keep haleg refrigerated and if it gets too thick, thin it with grape juice or even sweet wine to give it a grown-up twist!

Ashkenaz Charoset - Etty Deutsch

My sister-in-law’s grandmother, of Polish descent, makes the best charoset—it’s become somewhat of a legendary recipe for the extended family. When I called her, though, she told me that her recipe was never written down! I recreated this version based on her instructions.

7 Fruit Charoset from Surinam

Coconut is the base of Surinam charoset; the ingredients reflect the tropical source of this recipe. Originally, Surinam cherries were simmered and added to the fresh fruits. Today, since most cherries available do not have the same taste, cherry jam is used instead. Some families replace one or two of the ingredients with peaches or pineapple. Like other Sepharadim, Surinamese Jews wouldn’t only make charoset for the seder— they make enough to eat all week long with matzah.

When 800,000 Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, many took refuge in the newly discovered South America. When the Portugese took control of Brazil, prosecutions began again there, and the Jews who had established successful plantations were forced to move again, this time to Surinam, which was under Dutch rule. The area where they settled became known as “Joden Savanne.” When the British colonial government took over, the Jewish community enjoyed additional freedoms and the community flourished. When it switched back to Dutch rule, these freedoms went undisturbed. Though the community now numbers only a few hundred individuals, it is the oldest Jewish community in the Americas.