Unlike traditional Ashkenazi charoset, made with apples and nuts, this combination of dates and oranges certainly is closer to representing the mortar that the Israelites used to build the palaces and pyramids of Egypt – and is hard to resist.
Every year, a highlight of the Passover seder is looking forward to my cousin Susie bringing this nontraditional charoset. For many years, after the first half of the seder, when the Haggadot were being cleared, and the gefilte fish was coming out, my mom and I would sit and happily feast on this charoset, putting spoonful after spoonful onto matzah long after everyone was onto the next course.
- Cut oranges in pieces, skin and all, and remove pits. Chop in a food processor. Put in a heavy-bottomed pot.
- Chop dates and sugar, (in three or four batches to prevent clogging the blade), in food processor. Add to the pot.
- Cook over gently heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently until mixture is soft and sugar dissolves.
- Stir in cinnamon, wine or brandy, and cook five more minutes.
- Add walnuts if you are using them.