Sephardic Charoset

You’re probably not doing much relaxing this Sunday, it’s Passover prep season! That’s right, since tomorrow’s the first seder, you’re probably busy in your hametz-free kitchen, cooking away. Is your local grocery store all out of charoset? Or are you feeling extra eager this holiday season? Maybe you want to make your own.

Sephardi charoset isn’t much like its Ashkenazi relative. We use dates, rather than apples as the base. I guess the rest of the ingredients are the same, though. Walnuts, wine, cinnamon. This one is more of a paste, so I think it would be better for layering bricks, but that’s just me. I also think it’s tastier; mmm, I look forward to korech the whole seder.

Last year, Adele and I decided to try and make our own charoset. Sure, we bought some, but isn’t homemade always better? A blind taste test confirmed our suspicions, but it was a major pain in the butt to make. Maybe if you have pre-peeled dates it’s better, but I don’t want to ever have to remove the skin from a date again!

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is about the only thing concord grape wine is good for, because it’s certainly not good for drinking, especially four whole cups, ick! People, there are way better kosher wine options out there, you don’t have to suffer through the seder with barely-potable wine.


Charoset, Syrian-style


  • 1 lb dates
  • 1/2 cup concord grape wine
  • 1/2 cup coarsely-chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Soften dates in hot water and peel off the skin. This is really hard and not fun and takes a long time and chips your new holiday manicure. Drain.
  2. Put dates in a pan and just cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until dates are soft.
  3. Mash the dates and water into a paste with a fork, or, if you’re lucky enough to have a KforP food processor, use that.
  4. Add wine, walnut and cinnamon and walnuts. Mix. Serve.