Why is this night different from all other nights?
Because we’re eating my favorite “sandwich” (emphasis on the air quotes) of all time! I know, it’s weird. Of all things, I’m kind of seriously obsessed with romaine lettuce topped with charoset and horseradish. I kid you not, I even dig eating it on matzah.
My entire life, the years have been marked by Jewish holidays. School vacations, family get-togethers, special foods and songs. Everything revolved around Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Pesach—that’s only a handful. I’ve got plenty more that we could talk about. Most of my friends loved Channukah for its 8 nights of presents. Plenty of them were diehard Purim fans, planning their costume months in advance.
And then there’s me, counting down the days until Pesach. What can I say? I’ve always been different from the other kids.
First, though, we need to take a step back. Charoset represents the mortar that the Jews used while slaves way down in Egypt-land. It doesn’t look particularly appetizing yet tastes so good. Essentially, charoset is fruit and nuts, cooked down in sweet wine and pureed to a spreadable consistency.
If you’re imagining boozy apple fig butter, then you’re on the right track.
Growing up, my family never used the traditional walnuts, since my brothers were allergic. The first time we went to a Pesach seder at someone else’s house, I was shocked that there were nuts in the charoset. It’s a whole different ballpark. So, when I told my mom this year that I wanted to try and make a better recipe for our charoset, she only had one condition. I needed to make it crunchy.
Game on, Mommy. Game on.
I’ll admit, for a while I was stumped. Substituting nuts for seeds is my usual solution, but we don’t eat seeds on Pesach either. (We can sit down for a long discussion on my opinions about that some other time. Maybe not when everyone is trying to get ready for the holiday.) After racking my brains, I finally landed on the perfect swap. Truthfully, I can’t believe we didn’t think of it before. Better late than never.
Now, are you ready for this? I’m proud to present nut-free charoset, brought to you by PINE NUTS—satisfying crunch without the allergens.
I strongly encourage you to eat it as many ways as you can think of. On matzah, with celery, spooned straight from the jar. Whether or not you’re celebrating Pesach, this nut-free charoset is going to be your new favorite jam. Because honestly, everyone needs a little boozy apple fig butter in their lives.
Get the recipe!