Aunt Fox’s Hawley Haroseth

hawley-harosethweb

 
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Tinky

 
We’re so used to artificial light that we forget how many traditional holidays are based on the cycles of the sun. Easter and Passover (and just about every spring holiday there is) are examples. Both holidays are tied to the vernal equinox. On that welcome day we finally achieve parity between dark and light and start lurching toward the golden days and gentle evenings of summer.

 

Like the vernal equinox itself, Passover and Easter mix dark and light. That mixture is key to the two festivals. The Jews’ flight from Egypt more than 3000 years ago is meaningless unless one understands the harsh slavery under which the Jewish people served the Pharaohs. The joy of Easter is possible because of the sorrow of Good Friday.

 

As a food writer and food lover I appreciate the centrality of food to both of these holidays, particularly Passover. Passover illustrates the connection we all feel but too seldom articulate between food and memory. Food is used at Passover to symbolize the history the holiday commemorates and to bring people together to remember this shared history.

 

The centerpiece of the holiday is the meal known as the Seder, in which families gather to retell the story of the departure from Egypt. Much of the Seder’s menu is prescribed by tradition, and during the meal the symbolism of each item on the table is explained.

 

A bitter herb (usually horseradish) symbolizes the hardship of the slaves’ life, for example. My personal favorite symbol, Haroseth (also spelled “charoset” and a variety of other ways), is a paste of fruits and nuts. It represents the mortar the Jews used to construct buildings—most famously the pyramids.

 

Many years ago my honorary Aunt Carolyn Fox brought this haroseth to a Seder at our home in Hawley, Massachusetts. Growing up I ate haroseth moistened with wine. As a lover of sweets I was thrilled with her use of grape juice instead. The last time I made it I used crangrape juice, adding a little New England tang to this Passover staple. Next time I’m thinking of using straight cranberry juice…….

 

 

The Haroseth

 

Ingredients:

 

2 tart apples, peeled and cored

1/2 cup pecans

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon grape (or crangrape or maybe cranberry) juice

 

Instructions:

 

 

Finely chop the apples and pecans separately; then chop them together to make even smaller pieces. Stir in the cinnamon, honey, and juice.

 

Spoon a bit of haroseth on a piece of matzo for each guest.

Makes 12 small servings.
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4 Responses to “Aunt Fox’s Hawley Haroseth”

  1. Dick Matthews Says:

    Hooray for Tinky! We’ve been invited to a bring-something Seder dinner and had no clue what to prepare. This fits the ticket. Will let you know how it turns out.

  2. tinkyweisblat Says:

    Happy to help. Feel free to add any other fruits and nuts (fresh or dried) that strike your fancy…………..

  3. Grad Says:

    Even though I’m Catholic, I’ve always loved the Jewish traditions (which is one of the reasons why I love the book, From My Mother’s Kitchen by MiMi Sheraton). I especially love the foods associated with Jewish holidays. Oh, by the way, I tried your Maple Oatmeal Bread recipe this weekend. It is FAB. Very filling, only a hint of sweetness. There was a certain “somethin’ somethin'” in the taste that did not automatically register as maple syrup (other than the fact that I knew it was in there, so I knew what it was.) I’m wondering if the dough would work for cinnamon rolls, or perhaps the oatmeal would make them too dense. Anyway – the bread was delicious.

  4. tinkyweisblat Says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed the bread. I have a feeling you’re right about the cinnamon rolls; not only might the bread be too dense, but the combination would probably overwhelm the maple syrup. If you try it and prove me wrong, however, I’ll be thrilled!

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