Have you ever had a Larabar? Well if not, first of all, you must try them. They are 100% natural goodness. If you have, then you may know where I’m going with this. Larabars are very simply made of pureed fruit, nuts and spices that are pressed into bar shape. Simple, elegant, delicious. I absolutely love them; they are one of my favorite snacks. Oh, and they’re gluten-free.
Well guess what, haroset is made from pureed or chopped fruit, nuts and spices sweetened with a little honey and, in my case, some fruit juice rather than the traditional super sweet Kosher for Passover wine. So for those who may think you would never like such a concoction, give it a second look, you may just surprise yourself.
Anyway, haroset is part of the Passover Seder plate. It symbolizes the mortar used by the enslaved Jews in ancient Egypt to construct buildings for the Pharaoh (think “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston). It is traditionally made from assorted chopped fruit and nuts which may include apples, walnuts, honey and sweet wine. The fruit used varies by family tradition and region. Learned from my mom, I made this type of haroset for many a Seder.
In more recent years, since I met my husband and we started our own Passover traditions, I have made quite a number of changes. Okay, so my haroset is COMPLETELY different from my mom’s but there is good reason for that: I have a nephew who is highly allergic to tree nuts. It is therefore important that everything served at Passover is “safe” for him. This of course provides an added challenge to the Passover meal, particularly dessert because ground almonds are a very common substitute for flour… but I digress.
So I have been on a quest for a nut-free haroset that mimics the texture I like so much, provided by the nuts. I’ve been experimenting with the recipe ever since. Finally, last year I came up with a fruit combo that I really like. I’ve also replaced the sweet wine with apple juice (actually I did this many haroset versions ago) mostly because I’m not a fan of sweet wine and because by a day or two later the haroset seems to get this funky exposed-to-the-air-for-too-long-wine-taste…blaach.
15 pitted dates
5 figs, coarsley chopped
Handful of raisins (about 1/4 cup or so)
2 – 3 prunes
1 small apple peeled and chopped
1 tbs honey
1 tsp allspice
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Apple juice for consistency if needed
1. Place the dates, figs, raisins and prunes into a food processor and pulse until coarsley chopped.
2. Add the apple, honey and spices and process until combined but still chunky.
3. If the mixture is too dry, add a little bit of apple juice and pulse once or twice just to combine.
Note: I didn’t happen to need the apple juice this time as the fruit was very moist.