Thursday, April 9, 2009

"A Belated Haroseth Recipe"

2 apples, unpeeled, cored and finely chopped

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup sweet Passover wine

Combine the apples, walnuts, honey, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well. Add enough wine to bind the mixture. Serve in a bowl or roll into 1-inch balls and arrange on a serving plate.

Make yesterday.

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Haroseth, which I've come to enjoy making, is a traditional part of the Passover ritual, representing the mortar the Jewish people made while laboring as slaves in Egypt. This recipe for Central European Haroseth comes from Judy Zeidler’s The Gourmet Jewish Cook.

6 comments:

Tim Susman said...

I'm amused that it represents mortar. If I'd read that before looking at the recipe, I'm not sure I would've been as interested in trying it. Wouldn't it be more appetizing to say "it commemorates the simple snacks they refreshed themselves with while laboring as slaves in Egypt"? I guess it gets back to your comment about eating paste...

A. Buck Short, Last of the Jewish cowboy poets said...

As we Texan’s of the Hebraic persuasion are fond of saying on occasions like this, “Chhhhhhowdy.” “Good Pesachhhhhhhhhhh.” And “Has anybody got a napkin?”

Congratulations on your focus on the only selection from the Passover 6-dish combo platter that might actually be classified as an appetizer. As you are no doubt aware, each of these six – bitter herbs, a vegetable du jour, a bitter vegetable (because apparently the herb wasn’t nearly bitter enough), your aforementioned haroseth, the roasted shank bone of a lamb, and an egg (always hard boiled, because over-easy is apparently how the Egyptians had it)-- symbolizes something. They must, because, even together, these house specialties aren’t very filling. Talmudic tappas.

Catholics employ wine and wafers to symbolize the blood and the body of Christ. We Jews lean more heavily on condiments. Some of us start with horseradish as the bitter herb to symbolize the bitterness and harshness of slavery in Egypt. Because one can never be redundant enough, we also consume a sprig of parsley dipped in salt water to represent the bitterness of slavery, combined with the saltiness of our tears.

Your Haroseth, as is obvious from the ingredients you identify, is a sweet, pasty mixture that is eaten as part of a matzoh canapĂ© – to remind us, as you have earlier, that the matzoh itself is already paste. The haroseth is said to symbolize the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to build the pyramids, or whatever gated communities were deemed essential to protect the Egyptians from the overpopulation of Hebrews. (Incidentally this was the last time at least secular Jews may have ever posed a threat from having too much sex. The haroseth is also said to represent the sweetness of liberation from bondage.

So let’s recap: bitter herbs = the bitterness of slavery; dipped parsley = the saltiness of tears; haroseth = the sweetness of liberation. Indentured servitude, on the other hand, is said to be just kind of tangy. The New Settlement Cookbook later explains that three Jewish stars next to any of these in the Hagadah = extra spicey.

Our own Seder this year brought several additional revelations. We added two more plagues – cellulite and enlarged prostates – making an even dozen. This may be why, apparently for Jews alone, 13 is a lucky number. The Dead Sea Scrolls also revealed that after only a year, our people were as sickened by a steady diet of matzoh as you were. It is a little known fact that, for the remaining 39 years wandering in the desert, our brethren subsisted almost exclusively on Trailmix. I believe I learned this from your Cliff Clavin.

Recent events have also given new insight into why our people had to wander 40 years in that desert – FEMA.

Remember, only 245 more shopping days ‘til Chhhhhhhanukkah – another napkin please? – whereupon I hope you might see fit to discourse on how we became a race of people that considers spinning a top to be a rollicking good time.

diane said...

What a lovely, simple way to include us in your Passover celebration. Thank you.

growingupartists said...

Hmm, interesting. Sharing Seder with the President and you still had time to share a symbolic recipe. How generous!

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It sounds delicious, I'm going to try it tonight.

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