Yentas Cooking: All Set For Charoset

With the start of Passover on Monday, you may want to take the weekend to experiment with some traditional holiday dishes to complete your seder.

Sure, there are your brisket, chicken, and matzo ball soup recipes. And you could always try to bake up a delicious KFP (Kosher For Passover) cake (meh, good luck. Never found a good one!). But an often-forgotten dish is a Yentas favorite. Perhaps it’s because it’s considered a seder plate accessory, but charoset is to delicious as matzo is to dry.

Meant to represent the brick and mortar that the enslaved Israelites handled while working in Egypt, charoset is actually much tastier than bricks and mortar… not that I’ve ever tasted brick or mortar… but one could imagine it’s… cementy; like the gooey stuff the orthodontist used to take impressions of your teeth before your Bat Mitzvah braces.

Charoset can be eaten alone, as a topping on your entree, or, traditionally, used to make little matzo sandwiches. It may not be the prettiest food to look at (no foodie photographer is lining up to snap pictures at a seder. I mean, do we even need to discuss gefilte fish?), but it doesn’t matter how the charoset looks; it just tastes so good. And it’s made out of apples! It’s basically healthy! There are many different varieties of charoset, but a family favorite is to keep it sweet and cinnamony (yes, that’s a very technical cooking term).

Enjoy this recipe and feel free to doctor it up per your own taste as you go along.

1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup walnut halves
2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced
1/3 cup sweet red wine (consider a Herzog brand of Kosher red wine)

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. In medium bowl, whisk together sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
In large heavy skillet over moderately high heat, heat oil to 350°F. Fry walnuts until golden brown, about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Using skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer walnuts from skillet to bowl containing sugar mixture.
Toss walnuts in sugar, then spread on baking sheet. Cool 15 minutes, then chop roughly.
In large bowl, combine nuts, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, apples, and wine.
Store, covered, at room temperature until ready to serve.