Hallaq (Persian Charoset)

by Peter Fritz

Looking for a change from the apple, walnut and cinnamon charoset? Try hallaq, Persian charoset. Hallaq symbolizes the Jewish Exodus from Egypt and highlights some of the sweet and warm flavors from Iran such as raisins, dates and pomegranates. A wide variety of nuts is also used throughout Persian cooking, as reflected in the four types used here. Unlike sweet Ashkenazi haroset, this recipe adds a taste of cider vinegar and some fresh ginger, very typical of the savory-sweet combination found in Persian cooking. Shaping the haroset into a pyramid, as is traditional, is a lot of fun and looks perfect on any seder table.

Ingredients

1 cup almonds

1 cup roasted, shelled pistachios

1 cup walnuts

1 cup black raisins

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup dates, pitted

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large apple, peeled, quartered and cored

1 large pear, peeled, quartered and cored

2 bananas, peeled

2 to 3 tablespoons cider vinegar

½ to 1 cup pomegranate juice

½ to 1 cup sweet kosher wine.

Partially opened pistachios

Directions

  1. In a large food processor, combine nuts, raisins, dates and spices. Pulse until nuts are coarsely chopped.
  2. Add apple, pear and bananas, and pulse until coarsely chop. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, and 1/2 cup wine. Pulse again, adding more vinegar, juice or wine to taste, as needed to make a coarse paste. Do not purée; mixture should retain some crunch.

Yield: 6 cups.