Haroset, Sephardic Style Date - pareve

Posted by : Lita Lotzkar

   Authors note: This type of haroset is used by many different groups of
   Sephardim -- North Africans, Iraqis, Iranians, and Afghans, among
   others. It is always based on a paste made from cooked dates,
   sometimes with raisins. Chopped walnuts and/or almonds are also often
   included, either mixed into the paste or spinkled on top. Some
   Sephardim thin out the date paste with red wine, and flavor it with
   cinnamon. Others make the paste thick enough to be formed into small
   balls. Occasionally, the balls are coated with edible, dried rose
   petals. Iraqi Jews ofen use more water and no additional ingredients,
   to produce a thin, date syrup, rather than a paste.

      Title: Sephardic-Style Date Haroset

      Yield: 2 cups

      1 lb       Pitted dates, chopped
      1/2    -   1 tsp ground cinnamon
      1 1/2 c    Warm water
      1/2    -   1 cup finely chopped walnuts and/or almonds
      2 - 4 Tbsp sweet red Pesach .wine (optional)

   If desired you can substitute dark raised for up to half the dates.

   Put the dates and water into a medium sized saucepan and let them
   soak for 1 hour. Then bring them to a boil over high heat. Lower the
   heat, cover, and simmer for 30-60 minutes, or until they are very
   soft and form a paste. During the cooking period, stir the dates
   often, and mash then with a spoon to help break them down.

   To smooth out the paste, press it through a sieve, colander, or food
   mill, or puree it in a food processor. If the puree is too thin and
   does not have a rich date taste, return it to the saucepan and simmer
   it down to the desired consistency, keeping in mnd that it will
   thicken slightly more as it cools.

   Let the date paste cool to room temperature. Stir in the desired
   amounts of wine and cinnamon. Stir in the nuts and/or sprinkle them
   on top. Sotre the paste in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up
   to 2 weeks. For the best flavor, let it come to room temperature
   before serving.

   Source:  The Jewish Holiday Cookbook,
            Gloria Kaufer Greene, author

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