In Song of Songs, the Jewish people are compared to: apples, pomegranates, figs, dates, walnuts and almonds. While over the centuries many recipes have developed in Jewish communities (see below), these are the main ingredients to be used for Charoset. (Talmud – Pesachim 116a, with Tosfot)

The Talmud also says that the Charoset should be tangy by using apples – commemorating the apple trees under which the Jewish women secretly gave birth in Egypt. (based on Song of Songs 8:5)

Finally, the Talmud says to make the Charoset thick by adding spices, like ginger and cinnamon. This represents the straw and clay which the Jewish slaves used to construct buildings.

How is the Charoset used at the Seder? Before eating the Marror (bitter herbs), we dip it into Charoset, whose wine neutralizes the sting of the Marror.

Traditional Ashkenazi Charoset

  • 2 cups chopped apples
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sweet red wine

Combine and refrigerate.

California Charoset

  • 1/2 cup dates, chopped
  • 1 orange
  • 1 avocado
  • 3 bananas
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbs matzoh meal

Peel the fruits, place in blender. Add the almonds, raisins and matzah meal. Cover and refrigerate.

Yemenite Charoset

  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dates, chopped
  • 3 tb dry wine
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tb honey
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. Cloves
  • pinch of coriander
  • 1 small red chili pepper, seeded and minced

The recipe also calls for 3 tb of toasted sesame seeds. Sephardim who eat kitniyot on Pesach may add this ingredient; Ashkenazim should not.

Combine and refrigerate.