Haroset, Halek (Calcutta Date Syrup) - pareve

Posted by : Ruth Heiges

(about 2 cups syrup/3 cups charoset)

Many Iraqi Jews prepare a syrupy variation of date honey and Middle
Eastern immigrants in Calcutta make a similar syrup called halek. Since
this version requires a great deal of effort to prepare, it is usually made
in a large quantity only once a year just before Passover. The leftover
halek is then used throughout the rest of the year to add a distinctive
touch to desserts. 

4 cups (about 24 ounces) pitted dates
about 8 cups water
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds 

1. Place the dates in a large bowl and add enough water to cover. Soak
until soft, at least 24 hours. In a food processor or blender, puree the
dates and soaking liquid. Let stand overnight.
2. In batches, place a little of the date mixture in a linen towel and
squeeze out the liquid. Discard the solids left in the towel. (Some people
use a small manual wine press in place of the more tedious towel.)
3. In a saucepan, bring the date liquid to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and boil, skimming the surface and stirring
occasionally, until thickened and reduced to about 2 cups, about 1 hour.
4. Cool, then pour into a jar. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
If sugar crystallizes, place the bottle in a bowl of hot water until the
syrup is smooth.
5. To make the charoset, stir the nuts into the 2 cups of halek.

From an article by Gil Marks in the archives of the Jewish
Communications Network, 

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