Next on my to-do list is the seder plate “stuff”. The eggs are boiled, the potatoes are in the pot now, so all that’s left is cleaning the romaine, grating the horseradish root (I leave that tear-jerker to DH) and … making my charoset.
I go with a traditional Ashkenazi recipe, loaded with tons of cinnamon. But there are many, many more recipes for charoset than the apple and walnut one that graces our table. In fact, I would love to try the following Syrian charoset with dates – mmmmm!
This recipe was printed in the Kansas City Star this weekend as part of a lovely article about the Pesach traditions of a Syrian family that recently joined our shul.
The article is definitely worth a read if you have five minutes to spare, but if not, at least you can enjoy Nouri and Claudette Levy’s charoset recipe.
Charoset (or Hilleq in Arabic)
Makes about 1 cup
- 1 pound dates, whole and pitted, or chopped
- 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 1 head romaine lettuce leaves, cleaned and dried and cut into 2-inch pieces
Two days before usage, make the date syrup (called Silan in Arabic): Place dates in a large stock pot and fill with water 2 inches above the fruit. Allow to soak overnight.
Over the lowest heat possible, gently simmer dates in the soaking liquid for about 2 hours or until the fruit falls apart.
Allow date mixture to cool. Over a large saucepan, strain dates through a large piece of cheesecloth, squeezing out all liquid.
Liquid should be slightly cloudy but free of any date pieces.
Over the lowest heat possible, reduce date syrup until it is the consistency of maple syrup. This can take another 2 hours. Do not allow the date liquid to boil.
Remove from heat and allow date syrup to cool. Pour syrup into glass jars, cover tightly with lids and refrigerate.
On the night of the Seder: Right before eating, combine syrup (or Silan) and walnuts in a small bowl. Serve by placing a teaspoonful of Charoset on a romaine leaf.