When my daughter Alex and “goddaughter” Emily were preparing these seductive Haroset Bites for our seder in Paris, from a recipe I had devised for Food and Wine magazine, they consumed one for every two they managed to place on the Passover platter. Luckily, I always buy way too much food. So we had plenty to assuage our hunger pangs later, when the bites provided a welcome nourishing snack at “haroset time” during the service.
I always toast nuts for harosets. While it might seem excessive, it really does permit the slightly bitter, pure nut essence to shine through, parrying the sweet dried or fresh fruit in the paste.
Toast the nuts: preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts out in a single layer in a baking pan and toast them, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts are fragrant and lightly toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Put the raisins, dates, and cherries or cranberries in a bowl. Stir in the grape juice or wine, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Let the fruit macerate for atleast 15 minutes.
When the nuts are cool, set the almonds aside and place the walnuts in a food processor. Using the steel blade, pulse on and off until the walnuts are coarsely chopped.
Add the macerated fruit and any liquid remaining in the bowl to the food processor. Pulse on and off, until the mixture is a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl and chill so that mixture will be easier to roll. (The haroset tastes best if flavors are allowed to mingle for several hours.)
Form heaping teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place each on a softened apricot half. Press an almond into each ball at a jaunty angle.
© 2008 Jayne Cohen. All rights reserved.