Heavenly Halek-Persian Charoset

Pesach Table at the Feldman Home 2012
Pesach Table at the Feldman Home 2012
This recipe, which my friend Marjorie Feldman first brought to my attention, has become the favorite at my house and many folks prefer it to the more traditional apple and honey version. I always make both and have now added a third variety, which I will post up here shortly.

Halek/Hallaq (Persian Charoset) is completely different from Ashkenazi recipes. It is firmly Mizrahi and Sephardic and consequently and rightly has a very strong set of flavors. It is also pricey to make in large quantities, because the dried cherries, nuts and apricots, when you use organic, cost a pretty penny. In general Passover is the time of year I just spend way too much money. I have even made a category for it in my bookkeeping and the food I buy at this time of year is no longer just under groceries. It has its own moniker so I can keep some track. If you aren’t making this for thirty or more people it is not so expensive. I quadruple this recipe and have enough for the meal and usually some left over for the next day as well.

  1. 1/4 cup almonds
  2. 1/4 cup pistachio nuts
  3. 1/4–cup walnuts
  4. 1/4–cup raw pumpkin seeds
  5. 1/4–cup hazelnuts
  6. 1/8 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates
  7. 1/8 cup coarsely chopped prunes
  8. 1/8–cup raisins light and dark
  9. 1/8 cup coarsely chopped dried apricots
  10. 1/8 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
  11. 1/4 cup red wine (good red wine, kosher for passover and not sweet wine)
  12. 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (kosher for passover if you can)
  13. 1/4 teaspoon Advieh which is a mixture of 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom,1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. There are many other versions, but these ingredients are easy enough to get a hold of almost anywhere. If you have access to an Iranian or Persian market of some kind, get some Advieh from them instead.
  14. 1/4-1/2 teaspoon rosewater

Finely chop the nuts in a processor. Mix the nuts, fruits, wine, vinegar, Advieh and rosewater to achieve a moist textured consistency. This stuff keeps very well and should be very moist and sticky. You can make it a day ahead.

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