A Georgian-Style Seder Spread | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

A Georgian-Style Seder Spread

A Georgian-Style Seder Spread

Jennifer Abadi’s recipe features walnuts, a popular part of Georgian cuisine. Jennifer Abadi

Pears, walnuts and chestnuts define this charoset

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The great charoset debates, like the great matzah ball ones, have been around for ages. In so much of Jewish cooking (and all cooking, for that matter), texture and consistency are all. Do you like floaters or sinkers when it comes to matzah balls, light ones or heavier ones?

And so it is with charoset, the Passover paste that is both symbolic (a stand-in for the mortar the Israelite slaves used to make bricks) and much-anticipated, coming as it does as people’s stomachs are beginning to grumble. Do you prefer the pared-down Ashkenazi chopped apple, walnuts and wine variety? Or do you go for the thicker, pastier Sephardic variety with, say, dates and bananas and apricots and figs?

This charoset recipe from Georgia (no, not the Ray Charles Georgia), courtesy of chef and cookbook author Jennifer Abadi, by way of Irina Kazhiloti, leans definitively toward the latter. The walnuts, which are commonly found in Georgian cooking, are added in a larger quantity than the rest of the nuts, while the addition of pears and peeled chestnuts give it a thick texture similar to a pâté. Abadi suggests pairing it with one or two other charosets at your seder table this year, which will no doubt reignite the great charoset debates.


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