Incredible lemon & cinnamon charoset with pine nuts

So, you know that moment at the seder when everyone fights over the last bit of charoset….? No? No, I’d never experienced it before last year either, now you mention it. Which was the first time I made this incredibly delicious lemon & cinnamon charoset. Seriously, we licked the bowl clean.

Incredible lemon & cinnamon charoset with pine nuts! An unbelievably delicious combination of nuts, lemon, cinnamon and apple - from North Africa via Italy. This charoset will revolutionise your seder!

Both DH and I grew up on traditional Ashkenazi charoset – that unappealing purple-brown slurry of grated apple, ground nuts, and sweet red wine. It was always hard to imagine how it was supposed to represent the mortar used by the Jewish slaves in Egypt. It was too wet and sloppy to stick anything together! And it didn’t even taste particularly good. As a child we would make a single apple’s worth for a seder with 30 people, and there would always be some left…

Anyway, early last year we had a family holiday in Venice, and one of the things I brought back with me was a copy of La cucina nella tradizione ebraica by Guiliana Ascoli Vitali-Norsa. It is a fantastic book of Jewish recipes from around Italy and the rest of the world – in Italian, of course. It contains a total of eight different charoset recipes, so last Pesach we decided to depart from the Ashkenazi sludge and try something new.

Google translate came in very handy, and we picked Haroseth no. 6 on the basis that we had all the ingredients handy. (Other variants included things like chestnuts, bananas and dried figs.) According to the book, this recipe was from North Africa, although I checked with my sister-in-law, whose family hails from Tunisia, and she claims never to have eaten anything like this.

In any case, the charoset was a massive success. The entire bowl of it vanished – we basically ate the lot as a starter. It was SO GOOD, that we made another batch later in the week to eat on a matza picnic. Where it was devoured. This charoset is sweet, spreadable (like mortar!), tangy from the lemon and deliciously cinnamon-scented. When I made the batch in the photos, I was basically spooning it into my face as soon as I’d put the camera down. YUM.

This charoset will revolutionise your seder. Honestly. People will talk about it for months. Months, I tell you!

Incredible lemon & cinnamon charoset with pine nuts! An unbelievably delicious combination of nuts, lemon, cinnamon and apple - from North Africa via Italy. This charoset will revolutionise your seder!

The recipe has been adapted slightly from the Italian. The original calls for a hard-boiled-egg-yolk, but I’ve listed this as optional as we’ve made it both with and without, and although DH insisted it was better with, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference. He claimed it was a texture thing. I’ll let you decide for yourself whether or not to include it. Obviously if you want a vegan charoset, then skip the egg.

The recipe (indeed the whole book) is charmingly vague in parts, and just lists ‘cinnamon’ as an ingredient, with no clue as to quantity. Hence, I’ve listed ‘cinnamon to taste’. However, I’d start with a good half teaspoon and go from there. You do want it to be quite cinnamony – it complements the fresh tanginess of the lemon beautifully.

This makes one medium bowl of charoset. If you have more than 8 people at your seder, make at least double the amount 🙂

Incredible lemon & cinnamon charoset with pine nuts! An unbelievably delicious combination of nuts, lemon, cinnamon and apple - from North Africa via Italy. This charoset will revolutionise your seder!

One last thing. Our seder plate is not really a seder plate at all, but a large metal tray and a collection of beautiful Japanese ceramic dishes that we were given as an engagement present. When I made and photographed this charoset, it wasn’t Pesach, and so I put it in one of my regular year-round dishes. However, I felt compelled to serve it in our most Oriental of bowls. Force of habit 🙂 

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And don’t forget, there are plenty more terrific Pesach recipes in my book – Helen’s Delicious Pesach. Buy it on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com, or get the ebook for iPad, or pdf, from Blurb.com

Lemon & Cinnamon Charoset
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
1672 calories
178 g
187 g
104 g
34 g
9 g
594 g
70 g
143 g
0 g
85 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
594g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1672
Calories from Fat 875
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 104g
160%
Saturated Fat 9g
45%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 32g
Monounsaturated Fat 53g
Cholesterol 187mg
62%
Sodium 70mg
3%
Total Carbohydrates 178g
59%
Dietary Fiber 20g
82%
Sugars 143g
Protein 34g
Vitamin A
9%
Vitamin C
92%
Calcium
29%
Iron
50%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 medium-large apple
  2. 1 hard-boiled egg yolk (optional)
  3. 50g (half a cup) ground almonds
  4. 50g (half a cup) ground hazelnuts
  5. 115g (half a cup) sugar
  6. Juice and zest of a lemon
  7. Cinnamon to taste
  8. 60g pine nuts
Instructions
  1. Peel and core the apple, and grate the flesh into a mixing bowl.
  2. Mash the egg yolk, if using, and add to the apple.
  3. Add the almonds, hazelnuts, sugar, lemon juice, and most of the zest, and mix well.
  4. Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon, mix well, and taste. Add more cinnamon if required and continue to add, mix and taste until you're happy with the flavour.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl, and decorate with the pine nuts and remaining lemon zest.
Notes
  1. The charoset can be stored in the fridge, covered, for a few hours until required.
beta
calories
1672
fat
104g
protein
34g
carbs
178g
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