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Charoset and other Passover Delights

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Happy Passover! I may have been raised Catholic, but thanks to my "Jewish Mother" Regina Barton, I can still cook a decent seder. My mother still teases me about my slurred summary of my first Passover, "You say a prayer, you drink some wine. You say a prayer, you drink some wine. You say a prayer, you drink some wine. I'm going to bed." I was twelve.

Spelled either Charoset, Haroset, or Charosis, this sweet dish symbolizes the mortar used by the slaves to assemble bricks. In spite of the sad story, it was always my favorite dish. Mrs. Barton was kind enough to take time out from cooking her brisket this year to send me her recipe. These are her directions, verbatum.

Recipes after the jump

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Mrs. Barton's Charoset
2 tart apples (I like Pippin, but Macintosh is the next best one if you cannot find Pippin)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (walnuts work best)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp kosher wine (I think I use more, I like it better, so taste it and see what you think and add or stop whenever you think its right).

Pare and core the apples and chop the apples and nuts (I don't like it either too fine or coarse). [Note from Elise - chopped fine, about the size of peas, but not fine enough to make a paste].

Add the cinnamon and honey and wine, according to your taste. Obviously if you use more or less of some of the ingredients. You will have to taste it until it gets to the right point. You can see that as in all my recipes, I don't have exact amounts but I trust you to know when its right.

This recipes makes about 2 to 2.1/2 cups of charosis and even though you are only supposed to have a Tbsp or so on a piece of matzah, everybody likes more, so multiply it by the amount you want to make. My mother used to say, when I asked her how much, "Depends, if you want a little make a little, if you want much, make more.

The important thing to remember is that you need, tart apples, nuts, honey and kosher wine and there you have Charosis.....If you ever want to make matzo balls, would you believe that the best recipe is the one on the box of Matzo meal? Manichewitz, I think...

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Here are a few more Passover Recipes I recommend:

You still can't beat Mrs. Barton's Brisket.

If anyone has read Ruth Reichl's Tender at the Bone, you will remember the story about her wild drunken teenage friends demanding matzo brei. Here is her recipe. Other recipes add about 1/2 cup of sour cream, but not unless you're making a dairy meal.

Dave Lieberman's Apricot-glazed Chicken with Dried Plums and Sage is a favorite.

This lamb shank from the Dorset Inn looks tempting beyond belief.

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My mom used to make these meringue cookies, also known as "Surprise Cookies" or "Overnight Cookies" because of the cooking method. Vanilla sugar is made by keeping a vanilla bean in a jar of sugar for a few weeks. You can substitute regular sugar and a drop of vanilla.

This site has some delicious vegetarian and vegan passover dishes. Sweet potato kugel? Mmmmmmm.

Photo by thenestor via flickr