Recipe: Haroset for Passover Seder

I was supposed to prepare Haroset (aka Charoset) for a "Last Supper" reflection in my parish on Maundy Thursday (9 April 2009). The first time I tried making Haroset (using a recipe that I had randomly come across while surfing the web) about 3 -4 years ago, the results weren't good.

This year, I was given a "killer recipe" except that it came without any measurements, indication of proportions, and the directions were simply to mix everything together then refrigerate for 2 days. Panic, panic...what if I got the proportions or sequence wrong etc?

The person who had given the recipe has been making it for so long that he didn't need any measurements but through his highly honed powers of estimation, has been able to churn out delicious batches of Haroset year after year. Unfortunately, he was unable to prepare the Haroset this year so I had to fuzzy logic my way through his recipe and the 22 others that I found on the web. The amazing thing is amongst the many recipes I read, no 2 recipes were identical and tended to have varying methods of preparation.

I sought to record the quantities as I was preparing the Haroset and to hopefully pen down a recipe that I would use (if required) for years to come. I also replaced some of the ingredients in the recipe with items that I preferred or had access to. Thankfully, it worked and many of my church mates liked the Haroset. I was told to post the recipe on my blog to share.

Coincidentally, Taste with the Eyes is collating Passover Seder 2009 photos for her blog, which she will post on 17 April 2009. Please email her a photo of your Seder plate, Passover dish(es), or your Passover table at: and tell her a little about you and your Seder photo.

Nutty Haroset for Passover Seder 2009

(Serves about 60 - 70 pax, a tablespoon each
*reduce quantity to suit your requirements


1 kg Raw Cashew Nuts
1.5 kg Raw Peanuts
100g Raw Almonds
100g White Sesame Seeds
1 kg Raisins
600g Medjool Dates (coarsely chopped)
150g Dried Cranberries
500g Dried Apricots (diced)
400g Prunes (diced)
187.5ml/6oz Red Wine
2 tsp All Spice Powder
3 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
3 tbsp Honey
3 tbsp Grand Marnier
4 cups Water

1) Roast the nuts in a dry pan (without any oil) over a slow flame till fragrant.
2) Leave nuts to cool before chopping them coarsely (how coarse/fine depends on your preference).
3) Bring water to a boil and then to a simmer in a pot.
4) Add the chopped dates to the simmering water.
5) Mash the dates to create a date sauce (think: the toffee sauce for sticky date puddings).
6) Add spices (note that the quantities are indicative and you should add to taste).
7) Add the raisins in batches and stir well to incorporate the raisins into the sauce.
8) Ensure that there aren't clumps of raisins as the idea is for the raisins to absorb the moisture in the sauce and plump up. Add more water if required but keep to a thick toffee-like consistency.

9) Add the dried cranberries, apricots and prunes. Mix well and add water if required.
10) Add Honey and Grand Marnier. Stir well.
11) Add Red Wine and stir well for another 5 minutes or so. Remove from heat.
12) Mix in nuts. If your pot is not large enough to accomodate, you can add the cooked fruits mix to a large bowl of chopped nuts and mix well. Leave to cool and then refrigerate for 2 days before serving.

* Feel free to tweak the recipe to your preference. My Jewish guinea pig friend thinks the Haroset should be sweeter (more honey) but many of my Singaporean guinea pigs (those without a sweet tooth) are pretty happy.

PS: Thank you to all my "fearless guinea pigs" who put their palates and stomaches to the test and lived to tell. :)