A Sephardic charoset recipe (also spelled: Sephardi charoset, Sephardic charoses, Sephardi charoses, Sephardic haroset, Sephardi haroset, Sephardic charoseth, Sephardi charoseth, Sephardic haroseth, Sephardi haroseth, Sephardic haroses, or Sephardi haroses; some also use the spelling variations Sefardic, Sefardi, Sefarad, Sepharadic, Sepharadi, or Sepharad) can vary according to where the Sephardic family is located as well as the individual family recipes passed down through the generations. A Sephardic charoset recipe will reflect the ingredients that are available in the community where one lives, although the resulting Sephardic charoset recipe will reflect a visual similarity to what charoset represents, that is, the mortar that the enslaved Hebrews used to make bricks in building store-houses and supply centers for the Pharaoh of ancient Egypt as recalled in the Passover / Pesach story. Sephardic charoset recipes will contain fruits such as oranges, dates, apricots, as well as raisins, and different kinds of spices. The tropical fruits and exotic spices such as saffron, cardamom, and others that are available where Sephardim live differentiate a Sephardic charoset recipe from an Ashkenazic charoset recipe, which uses apples as the primary fruit, and cinnamon as the primary spice, however, there are some Sephardic charoset recipes that will add in apples as part of the recipe mixture, such as the Sephardic charoset recipe given below. The nut ingredient may be the same for both Sephardic charoset recipes and Ashkenazic charoset recipes, with either walnuts or almonds used in either recipe.

What does "Sephardic" mean? The Hebrew words "Sephardic" (descriptive adjective in Hebrew), "Sephardi" (singular form in Hebrew), and "Sephardim" (plural form in Hebrew) originally derived from the Hebrew word "Sepharad", a district located near the Bosphorus in Asia Minor (now in Turkey) that is mentioned in the biblical book of Obadiah (Obadiah 1:20). Later on, when Jews settled in Spain and Portugal in the early Middle Ages, the term "Sepharad" became identified with Ispamia (either Spain or the Iberian Peninsula, meaning both Spain and Portugal) according to Jewish biblical commentators in the Middle Ages (Rashi, Ibn Ezra). In the cultural sense of the word, the word "Sepharad" also eventually referred to the entire complex of Sepharad culture, specifically Spanish-Jewish culture but in the broader sense of the word, Iberian-Jewish culture (meaning both Spanish-Jewish and Portuguese-Jewish culture), including the prayer rites ("nusach", "nusah" or "nusakh" in Hebrew), legal concepts, mores, religious traditions, etc. After the peak of the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions of 1492 and 1497 respectively in which both Spain and Portugal expelled from their countries all non-Catholics, the Spanish-Jewish and Portuguese-Jewish communities, collectively known as "Sephardim" which means the "Inhabitants of Sepharad", meaning either Spain and/or Spain and Portugal, specifically the Jewish inhabitants, migrated either to North Africa or to other European countries, namely Italy, France or even to European countries where Ashkenazi Jews lived, joining the Jews who had already settled in those countries ("Ashkenazi Jews" or "Ashkenazic Jews" in a geographic sense originally referred to Jews who lived in "Ashkenaz", the Hebrew word that came to be identified with "Germany" as well as German-controlled areas of Europe in the Early and Middle Ages, but with many German-Jews eventually migrating to other countries in Central Europe as well as to Northwestern and Eastern European countries and having a dominant cultural and religious influence on the established Jewish populations that lived in those countries, the meaning of the phrases "Ashkenazi Jews" or "Ashkenazic Jews" eventually extended to include all Jews who lived in or whose ancestors came from Central, Northwestern and/or Eastern European countries). In some cases, the Sephardim even joined and integrated into the Ashkenazi Jewish communities and as a result, some Ashkenazim have some Sephardic ancestors. In addition, some Spanish-Jews and Portuguese Jews migrated to Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as the Ottoman Empire (now Turkey), Greece (not in the Middle East or Asia but part of the Ottoman Empire at the time of the Sepharad migration after the Inquisitions), Syria, Iraq, and Iran, thus bringing Sepharad culture to Asia and the Asian-Jewish and Middle Eastern-Jewish communities. Thus, the cultural and religious influences of the Sepharad of Spain and Portugal spread to other Jewish communities in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia and hence the descriptive adjective "Sephardic" was extended to refer to Jews who were influenced specifically by Spanish-Jewish culture but in a broader sense, by both Spanish-Jewish and Portuguese-Jewish culture. As a result, while "Sephardi" originally referred to a "Spanish-Jewish" and/or a "Portuguese-Jewish" person, "Sephardi" eventually came to mean either a Jewish person who is or has ancestors from Spain and/or Portugal, or a Jewish person who was influenced and had adopted the Sepharad culture. With the migration of the Sepharad after the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions, the particularly highly-developed and strong influence of Spanish-Jewish culture developed by the Jews that lived in Spain in the Early to Middle Ages became a major influence in North African, southern European, Middle Eastern, and some Asian Jewish communities, and so the Hebrew definitons for "Sephardic", "Sephardi", and "Sephardim" which originally described Sepharad culture, a Spanish-Jewish and/or a Portuguese-Jewish person, and Spanish-Jewish and/or Portuguese-Jewish people respectively, were eventually extended to include all Jews who either lived in and/or were influenced, had ancestors from, or had adopted the Sepharad culture of the Spanish-Jews and Portuguese Jews.

The following Sephardic charoset recipe includes dates, apricots, and apples as the featured fruits, and allspice as the featured spice, with walnuts tossed in to represent the nuts in the Sephardic charoset recipe.

Sephardic Charoset Recipe (Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes plus 1 hour chilling) (Makes 2 cups)

1/2 cup dates, pitted and cut in half
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut in half
1 apple, unpeeled, cored and diced
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions for the Sephardic Charoset recipe:

  1. Blend dates, apricots, apple and allspice in bowl of food processor until very finely minced.
  2. Add walnuts and pulse on and off until mixture is blended.
  3. Do not purée.
  4. Transfer to bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

Nutrition Information Per Tablespoon: Calories: 24; Sodium: 1 milligram; Cholesterol: 0; Fat: 1 gram; Carbohydrates: 4 grams; Protein: 0; Fiber: 0.20 grams.

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