Persian haroset

April 16, 2008

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Makes 1 1/2 cups

Look for Medjool dates at specialty food stores; they're softer than standard packaged dates.

1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup golden raisins
12 Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
Grated rind and juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon port or sweet Passover wine
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Spread the pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Add the almonds and toast 4 minutes more or until the nuts are slightly golden and aromatic. Cool to room temperature.

2. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and hot water to cover them; set aside to plump for 10 minutes. Drain.

3. In a food processor combine the pistachios and almonds. Pulse a few times to chop them coarsely. Add the raisins, dates, orange rind and juice, port or wine, cinnamon, salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Pulse 3 more times, leaving the mixture chunky. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or black pepper, if you like. - Adapted from Michael Leviton