Charoset is a relish made of fruit, nuts, and red wine that represents the mortar used by Jewish slaves in the building of pyramids in Egypt. It is one of the symbolic foods on the Passover seder plate, and its ingredients vary by custom. Sephardic charoset incorporates dried fruit (like dates, raisins, apricots, or figs), nuts (often almonds or walnuts), and cinnamon. Ashkenazi charoset includes fresh fruit (my dad always used pears, but apples are also common), walnuts, and red wine. This recipe fuses both versions into delicious bars that are so good, it’s hard to imagine that they are kosher for Passover!
3 cups superfine blanched almond flour
¾ cup sugar
½ cup walnut or grapeseed oil
1 extra-large egg
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 ripe pear or Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
14 plump medjool dates, pitted (about 10 ounces)
¼ cup dry red wine
¹⁄8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts (about 2 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 × 8‑inch pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the almond flour, sugar, oil, egg, and 1 teaspoon of the salt until combined into a smooth dough. Remove 1 cup of the dough and set aside.
- Using your hands, press the remaining dough into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly puffed. Cool for 5 minutes.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the pear, dates, wine, cinnamon, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt until pasty, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed (it should resemble mortar, just like the story of the Exodus!).
- Add the walnuts to the reserved 1 cup of dough and mix with your fingers to combine. Spread the charoset filling over the cooled baked dough and crumble the walnut mixture over top. Bake for 18 minutes, until browned around the edges. Cut the bars into squares and store in an airtight container (use parchment paper if layering). Store at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerate for up to a week.
- To freeze, wrap squares individually in plastic wrap, transfer to a zip-top bag, and freeze for up to 2 months.
Born and raised in a kosher home in Brooklyn, Chanie Apfelbaum grew up eating traditional Jewish foods such as gefilte fish, stuffed cabbage, and matzah ball soup. Today, living just a few blocks from her childhood home, she revisits family favorites and reinvents traditional holiday dishes. Chanie’s creative twists on old-time cuisine prove that kosher fare is anything but old-fashioned. With five little ones in tow, she celebrates her heritage one dish at a time, creating balanced recipes with a modern flair and Middle Eastern vibe. Chanie works as a recipe developer and food photographer. She is a contributing writer to Mishpacha Magazine’s Family Table and kosher.com, as well as a guest writer for numerous publications and websites. She has been featured in many national publications and media, including The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, News12 Brooklyn, The Meredith Vieira Show, Thrillist, and more. Chanie also shares her love of food, family, and tradition through fun and educational cooking demonstrations to audiences worldwide.