Blogging to: Jekyll & Hyde
Before I get going here, I need to address the obvious question. Where the hell have I been for the past two weeks? Well, two weeks ago, work was super super busy and I was so exhausted by the time I got home, cooking was the furthest thing from my mind. And this past week my darn allergies got the best of me. And all this happened, of course, during Passover preparations. The one food holiday I get most excited about all year…and I was too kaput to enjoy anything. Oh well, it’s technically still Passover and I’m managing to post a holiday-related recipe. Score!
This is actually my grandmother’s recipe for charoset, which is basically a mixture of apples, walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and sweetened red wine. (More on that last ingredient in a minute.)
I think the traditional stuff is more of a paste, but I like the chunky version. If you tell me something has apples in it, I better damn well be able to bite down on a piece of apple. So to start, let’s chop some apples.
The absolutely biggest pain in the tush is chopping up the apples. I hate coring them. I hate peeling them. So, I’ve tried to get around it as best I can. To “core” the apples, I basically cut them up into wedges and just cut out the actual cores with my knife.
See? See what I did there? I just cut the little buggers off of my apple. Now, we have that awful peel to contend with.
I like to take my knife (which I just sharpened before getting ready to make this recipe) and carefully slice off the peel from each wedge. It’s a little time consuming, but still easier than trying to use a vegetable peeler on a whole apple.
Next, we chop! Also, a word on apples: This time around, I used what I had in the house, which were pink lady apples. Traditionally, I make this dish with the classic American red delicious apples. And even though we’re a honeycrisp/pink lady convert household now, you just really need the bland, boring red delicious apples here. The wine adds a lot of flavor, so you don’t want anything that will compete too strongly with it. Now, this is just my opinion, but in keeping with the Jewish tradition here, blander is better.
Once you have all the apples chopped, add in the chopped walnuts (which you bought pre-chopped, because you want to make your life easier, right?)
Then add some cinnamon…
And some sugar…
Now, let’s talk about this stuff. For those not in the know, this is Manischewitz, a sweetened red wine that’s only used during Passover. Why only during Passover? Because the stuff is G-d awful and it’s bad enough we have to re-buy this stuff every year just for this one dish. You don’t drink this wine. I repeat, you don’t drink this wine. You buy this for the few tablespoons you’ll need for the charoset and that’s it. And if you go to a liquor store and they have the chutzpah to charge you anything more than $3.99 for this bottle, walk right out and buy it at a different store.
Once all the kids are in the pool, mix it up. In my experience, this stuff tastes much better after it’s been sitting in the fridge for at least a day or so. Everything needs to meld for the right flavor, so make this as far ahead of time as you need to.
And there you have it. Pile it high on matzoh and enjoy.
This classic Passover fruit and nut mixture is simple to make and tasty all year round.
- 4 red delicious apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
- 2 cups finely chopped walnuts
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 4 tsps sugar
- 6-8 tbsps Manischewitz wine (start with less, then add more as needed...it tends to all sink to the bottom, so stir before tasting)
- Add all the ingredients into a bowl. Mix to combine and refrigerate in an airtight container overnight to allow all the flavors to meld. This can last up to a week in the refrigerator and gets better the longer it sits.