The word "charoset" comes from the Hebrew word cheres — חרס — "clay." Charoset is a sweet, muddy-looking paste made of fruits and nuts eaten at the Passover Seder. The color and texture are meant to recall mortar (or mud used to make adobe bricks) which the Israelites used when they were enslaved in Ancient Egypt. There are many recipe versions for charoset. Eastern European (or Ashkenazi) charoset is made from chopped walnuts and apples, spiced with cinnamon and sweet wine. Honey or sugar may be used as a sweetener and binder. The mixture is not cooked. Sephardi charoset is a paste made of raisins, figs and date. Egyptian Jews make it from dates, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, and sweet wine. Greek and Turkish Jews use apples, dates, chopped almonds, and wine. Italian Jews add chestnuts. Some Spanish and Portuguese communities such as the Jews of Suriname, add coconut.
Charoset is one of the symbolic foods on the Passover Seder Plate. After reciting the blessings, and eating a matzah "sandwich" combining charoset and maror, the remainder is often eaten plain, spread on matzah.
I found this recipe in a booklet Auntie Arlene put together many years ago and have been devotedly making it for all my Passover seders. No need to change since everyone enjoys it! YUM!!!
2-3 apples, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ cup almonds or walnuts, chopped
½ lemon rind
sweet kosher wine, to moisten; if desired, substitute grape juice
1. Peel the lemon rind very thin, leaving very little white pith. Grind sugar, lemon rind and cinnamon in the food processor until rind is very fine. Add almonds and chop, but not too fine. Remove from processor and set aside.
2. Cut apples into smaller pieces and coarsely chop in food processor. Slowly pumping the processor on and off will help get better results. Do not overprocess!
3. Mix with rind/nut mixture and add wine to moisten.