Sunday, April 13, 2008

Who Let the Jews Out?

View from main entrance of the Denver Jewish Community Center.

Yes, folks, it's that time of the year again! Passover is coming next Saturday evening (along with agent Kristin Nelson's forever-29th birthday). Which means that it's also time to view my perennial favorite book trailer: Who Let the Jews Out?, made for Sam Apple's SCHLEPPING THROUGH THE ALPS.

As a public service for those who can't bear one more bite of Bubbe's (in)famous haroset, I offer my modification of "Uncooked Haroset from the Veneto," from Joyce Goldstein's marvelous CUCINA EBRAICA: Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen. Makes a tasty Hillel sandwich (matzoh, haroset & horseradish) during the seder.

1 cup chestnut puree (about 1/2 can)
1/2 lb pitted dates, halved
1/2 lb dried figs, quartered
1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup almond pieces
2 TBS poppy seeds
juice & grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup white grape juice
1/2 tsp rosewater
1/4 tsp cardamom powder

Put the dates, figs, apricots, poppy seeds, liquids, zest and cardamom into a food processor. Pulse till it makes a nicely textured slurry. Add nuts; pulse till it makes a chunky paste. Add chestnut puree; pulse again till fairly smooth. Best served at room temperature. Keeps in the fridge for weeks.

Yield: More than enough for 10 people, which means you can have some with a dollop of yogurt (I recommend Stonyfield Farms' French Vanilla) the next day, and the next, and the next...

Update 4/18:
I and Darling Husband searched all over Denver together and separately, and could not find canned chestnut puree--indeed anything chestnut. So I made the haroset without it. It's thick and sticky, like the mortar it's supposed to emulate, and tastes just fine. Whew! Another seder catastrophe averted.


Doreen Orion said...

I'm going to have to try this, but it's hard to believe haroset can work without Mad Dog 20/20 (you know, Manischewitz wine).

(Although maybe it never did and I just never noticed.)

Amy Nathan said...

Ok, I'm humbled. I chop apples, add pre-chopped walnuts, spritz with wine (or grape juice) and sprinkle cinnamon. And this year someone else is bringing it to my seder!

Luckily I'm writing a novel and not a cook book.

Kim Stagliano said...

That sounds delish! I'm back in the NorthEast, Metro NY and it's SO good to see the monstrous Passover displays in the stores and yummy foods galore.

Can I brag about a fellow writer for a moment(who shares my agent who just so happened to celebrate the Seder with JOAN RIVERS last year! I guess she's very funny about that youngest person at the talbe part of the evening. I love Joan Rivers.) Anyway, my pal Joanne Levy ( has written a YA book with quite possibly the best title ever: Shiksappeal. I am the world's worst creator of titles. Shiksappeal... About the trials and tribulations of an Asian Jewish girl who moves to a new city. You want to read it, don't you? Perhaps with a dish of Bella's yummy Haroset?

Can I make this in a blender? I don't have a food processor.

By the way, I've heard that Tam Tam's are in short supply. My local store has them. Uh huh!

Bella Stander said...

Great title!

You could maybe do the first step in a blender, provided you cut up the dried fruits fairly small. But the rest won't work; you'll have to do it by hand. This is sticky stuff! I've gummed up my food processor making it in the wrong order.

Jewgirl said...

Oh,that is one fly Haroset recipe, yes indeed it is.
My family uses the same recipe that Amy Nathan uses. I'm schlepping ovah to ma's this year with your recipe, Bella. It sounds divine. Who knew Haroset could be so fabulous?! News...

torontopearl said...

Mmmm... "Best Haroset Ever": Too bad I didnt' see this recipe before the 2 seders. We make Ashkenazi charoset (apples, cinnamon, walnuts, sweet wine) and Sephardi charoset (dates, walnuts and sweet wine, with an apple thrown in for good measure). They are so good, they could be jams. But your offered recipe must taste even better!