My grandmother is a Savta, not a Bubbe. When I was growing up, she would cook freshly defrosted cuisine and serve Entenmann’s for dessert. For her cooking is a punishment; let her live on coffee and chocolate and she’s happy. Growing up this never bothered me; partially because I didn’t know anything else, but mostly because less time in the kitchen meant more time for her to play with me.
But at the end of the day, Savtas and Bubbes are grandmothers, and even the most reluctant cooks have a repertoire of recipes that the whole family loves. Every Pesach, my house would go into complete panic mode as we prepared for the descent of the entire family. When the Seder table was set, there, center stage, was my grandmother’s charoset.
Something about the tart apples, sweet red wine, the right amount of dates, and the generous amount of cinnamon made us hungry long before the Seder started. By the time Shulchan Aruch (the main meal) rolled around, there was no charoset to be found.
This dessert is inspired by my grandmother’s charoset recipe and made with the secret ingredient that always made hers so great: love.
Chag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach!
1½ cups matzo meal cake flour
2½ tbsp brown sugar
Pinch of salt
¼ cup salt free margarine (at room temperature and cut into cubes)
6 tbsp olive oil
1 large egg (separated)
5 large Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and cut into quarters)
½ cup dates (chopped)
½ cup walnuts (chopped)
1/3 cup sweet red wine
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 large eggs
1. Preparting the crust by combining flour, brown sugar, and salt together in small bowl.
2. Beat your margarine into flour combination until it begins to feel crumbly. Then add olive oil and egg yolk until just combined.
3. In a separate small bowl, whisk egg whites until they form stiff white peaks, then beat into the crust mixture.
4. Form crust into a ball. It might feel a bit crumbly, but that’s ok, just force all the crumbs together to create a solid ball. Cover bowl of dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before continuing.
5. When dough is done resting: spray 10-inch round baking pan and roll dough with a rolling pin to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. If you don’t have a Pesach rolling pin, you can cut the dough into chunks and flatten them with your hand. The dough is very “giving,” so you can combine the patches of dough very easily with your fingers.
6. With a fork, prick the pie crust and refrigerate uncovered for another 15-20 minutes.
7. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake your pie crust for 15 minutes.
8. Start making the filling by slicing your apples into thin slices. Cover the bottom of the pie crust with one layer of apples. Sprinkle half of the dates and walnuts over the apples.
9. In a small ball, combine the red wine, olive oil, brown sugar, cinnamon salt and pepper. Beat the eggs and add them to the bowl.
10. Pour about 1/3 of the red wine mixture over the fruit and nuts.
11. Fill the pie crust with the remaining apple slices, creating a circular pattern.
12. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts and dates over the apples before pouring the rest of the red wine mixture evenly over the pie.
13. Bake your Charoset Pie for about 30 minutes or until the apples seem baked through and there is no more visible liquid.