Curaçao–Style Haroset (Garosa)
Recipe contributed by Melanie Moreno, adapted from Recipes from the Jewish Kitchens of Curaçao, Recipes Compiled by the Sisterhood of Mikvé Israel – Emanuel.
This recipe is unique to the island of Curaçao, where Jews have resided since the 17th century. Melanie and René Moreno, and their now-grown children, Ilana and Alex, make this version every year, continuing the island tradition of René’s family. Melanie says it was always an opportunity to work together as a family, carrying on this tradition from René’s home. Working as a team, René and the kids would shell peanuts, Melanie would make the mixture in the food processor and then René and the kids would roll the balls in cinnamon. This version, though similar in feel to the traditional, omits the half-pound of sugar that would normally be in the recipe. The honey, wine and orange juice make the haroset balls sweet enough—and delicious! For those who do not eat kitniyot on Passover, please note that this contains peanuts.
(This mixture also makes a delicious energy bar. Simply leave half the fruits and nuts a little chunkier, and use extra orange juice instead of wine in that half. Press the mixture into a square 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish lined with parchment paper. Let sit for about an hour and then cut into small rectangular bars. These would make a perfect snack for Passover for those who eat peanuts, and would also be good throughout the year.)
- ¼ pound pitted dates
- ¼ pound pitted prunes
- ¼ pound raisins (not golden)
- ¼ dried figs (hard stems removed)
- ¾ pound unsalted roasted peanuts (salted are fine, too!)
- ¼ pound unsalted cashews
- Zest of 1 large orange (about 2 tablespoons) (a Cara Cara orange is especially nice here)
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon of cinnamon for recipe, plus additional 3+ tablespoons for coating
- 1–1½ ounces kosher red wine
- 2–3 tablespoons juice squeezed from the orange
- In a large food processor, grind the dried fruits until almost a paste. Remove the fruit mixture from the food processor to a large bowl. Add in the nuts into the food processor and pulse until finely ground, but before they turn into a paste. Add the nuts in to the bowl with the fruit and mix together. This will be a very thick mixture. If you have a very large food processor, you may have room to grind both the fruits and nuts together in one step.
- Once the nuts and fruit are well mixed together, mix in the orange zest, honey, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, wine and 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. You should have a firm, slightly sticky mixture. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little more of the orange juice or wine.
- Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of cinnamon on a plate and begin to roll the mixture into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Roll the balls in the cinnamon until well coated. Add more cinnamon if you run low on the plate.
- You can make these ahead and keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer until the seder. In Curaçao, these are often made ahead and wrapped in waxed paper like individual candies.