We're excited to share the next in our series of recipes from Recipes to Remember, an initiative of Lasting Impressions: DOROT's Legacy Project.
Recipes to Remember is a book filled with much more than recipes. It is a keepsake of stories and food and pays homage to the lives, legacies, and food memories of those who make up our DOROT community. Food has the power to evoke powerful memories and this book seeks to celebrate and uplift the memories that we have, and the stories that we tell, about the food that we eat—the simple, the festive, and the sweet.
That's certainly true for this story & recipe for Charoses from Sheila Palevsky:
"My bubbe (pictured above with Sheila and her brother) came to New York from Russia in the early 1900s. When I was a child, she and my zayde lived in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn in a one-bedroom apartment with a small galley kitchen. The best meals I had with my paternal grandparents were take-out delicatessen -pastrami and corned beef - made into sandwiches - served along with coleslaw and pickles and Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray tonic. This was usually on the days we went to the boardwalk in Sheepshead Bay/Coney Island to watch the fireworks in the summertime.
My bubbe was not known for her cooking - most dishes were overcooked, the meats with a burnt crust. But I do have wonderful memories. I remember her making toast on a wire-standing toaster rack placed over the gas burner on the stove. The fresh char was special. But, bubbe’s charoses were special. She made them each year when we gathered for Pesach in their apartment.
Using a big wooden bowl and old curved meat chopping knife whose U-shape matched that of the bowl, she chopped walnuts and apples so finely that they became a smooth paste. She added sweet kosher wine used for the Seder meal along with cinnamon and ginger, giving it a heady aroma. This dark paste was so different from the chunky varieties I had elsewhere. She did this all by hand; no electric appliances used at all. She and my zayde spoke Yiddish and when I asked for a recipe, and she’d say a “t’shit of this, t’shit of that” as she never measured anything. The sweet, dark colored paste is meant to represent the mortar used in building the pyramids, and comes from cheres, the Hebrew word for clay." - Sheila Palevsky
Charoses Recipe by Sheila Palevsky
(Please note that this is not an exact recipe, but all to taste, so more or less of anything and everything)
- 2 apples - almost any kind works, sweet, crisp, I try to use more heirloom varieties - I tend to stay away from Red Delicious, as I find them pretty tasteless and mealy.
- ½ to ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 dash of ginger powder
- 2 teaspoons of sweet red wine -since this is for Passover, it is usually a kosher concord grape or Malaga grape wine
- Chop the apple and walnuts until fine.
- Mix in the other ingredients.
- Adjust to taste.
Looking for more delicious stories, recipes and wisdom? You can now purchase a printed copy of Recipes to Remember for $35.00. Please email LastingImpressions@dorotusa.org for more information.
Lasting Impressions: DOROT’s Legacy Project is generously supported by a grant from the Keller-Shatanoff Foundation.