The Passover Potluck is a unique annual online event. I’ve invited my friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to share recipes that are kosher for Passover. My goals are simple– to foster mutual understanding between different cultures, to introduce you to my foodie friends, and to share yummy recipes and cooking ideas for Passover!
Passover Potluck 2013 is generously sponsored by Idaho Potatoes.
My friend Cheryl Sternman Rule is a cookbook author, freelance food writer, and the voice behind the award-winning (now retired) food blog, 5 Second Rule. I met Cheryl at a blogging conference in 2012, and wrote about her colorful cookbook Ripe in July. I think Cheryl and I were destined to be kindred spirits; we both won IACP blogging awards last year, and we both have an interest in Jewish culinary culture (Cheryl gained hers by birth, me by conversion).
Cheryl has shared a unique Sephardic twist on a Seder classic. I’ll let her introduce her Whole Orange Sephardic Charoset! ~ Tori
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to Jewish holiday food. I want the same kugel, the same chopped liver, the same matzo ball soup, and the same hamantaschen every year. Latkes? The same. Tsimmes? The same. (Well, I don’t make tsimmes, but my friend Julia does, and she’d better feed it to me or I get grumpy.)
Come Passover, I’d always make my step-Grandma Arline’s simple charoset: red apples, cinnamon, walnuts, sweet red wine, and the barest touch of sugar. Slather that stuff on matzo, maybe pair it with a smidge of horseradish, and I’m Seder-ready and good to go.
But a few years ago, I stepped outside my own carefully constructed charoset box. Two things happened: in the process of developing the recipes for my cookbook, Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables (Running Press, 2012), I wanted a quick and simple Granny Smith apple recipe for the Green chapter. (The book is organized by color.) I played around with a bunch of options, but ultimately my heart landed on charoset. Why not introduce the wider world to this simple Passover paste, so important to the Seder meal and so significant? So I tweaked Arline’s recipe, ultimately creating the green apple version now in my book.
Around the same time, my friend Alison, who makes the world’s best latkes, brought her family’s Sephardic charoset to our havurah’s annual Seder. This charoset was so renegade (for me, at least) and so stickily, sweetly, hauntingly different, that I immediately added it to my suddenly three-recipe charoset rotation.
You’ll notice that it uses an entire, unpeeled orange, so please choose an organic, seedless one if you can. The charoset is both quite sweet and also a bit bitter due to the orange peel. The result? Surprising and delicious.
With Alison’s permission, I’m sharing it with you here. Happy Passover!
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Whole Orange Sephardic Charoset
- 1 medium seedless orange, well-rinsed, preferably organic
- 1 pound Medjool dates (about 22-24), pits removed and discarded
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons sweet (red) wine
- 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted, finely chopped
- Cut the orange into 6-8 rough pieces (do not peel) and place in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add the dates. Process for about 15 seconds, or until a mushy paste forms but rough chunks of orange peel are still visible.
- Place the paste in a small saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon, and wine. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and stir in the chopped nuts.