Made with a mixture of nuts and fruit, these traditional Moroccan charoset bites might just be the original energy bites. They capture the flavor of Passover in a handy and delicious snack to have all week, or serve them at seder, like Moroccan Jews do.Yum
There's an old skit on an Israeli sketch comedy show about a guy auditioning fiancees by scoring invitations to their mother's Friday night dinner. His goal: to eat the best Moroccan food in town every Shabbat for the rest of his life. A wholly sensible desire, given that the food of the Moroccan Jewish community kind of blows the rest of us out of the water. And these genius charoset bites are a classic case of Moroccans being brilliant in the kitchen.
We all make charoset, the delicious fruit and nut paste eaten on Seder night at Passover, symbolizing the brick mortar of all those buildings we were forced to build while enslaved in ancient Egypt. Charoset is most commonly served like a spread. Moroccan Jews, however, traditionally form the mixture into balls, which are then rolled in ground nuts, truffle-style. You can have them at Seder, of course. But they also happen to make the best Pesach snacks all week long, with all the characteristic flavors of Passover in a convenient, energy-filled bite.
Moroccan rolled charoset, like the charoset of each Jewish community, features local flavors: in this case, north African flavors, like dates, dried apricots, and almonds. Figs are optional here, but a wonderful addition if you have them. The mixture is made with less liquid, so it's stiffer and can be rolled into balls. Coated with ground nuts—coconut is also welcome here—they won't stick together and can be served in an artful pile, or stored in a container in the fridge for weeklong snacking.
Not having a Moroccan grandma of my own, I looked at lots of different family recipes online and those published in the classics like Claudia Roden's Book of Jewish Food. The recipes vary a lot, but I hope this one captures their essence. And I can vouch that it's delicious.
Making the charoset bites
You'll need a food processor for this part, but my little Pesach processor is able to get the job done, albeit less gracefully than my year-round processor. Pile the nuts and fruit in, then pour in the orange juice and spices, and blend until the mixture is chunky and coheres.
You can immediately start rolling the mixture into balls, about ¾" / 2 cm in diameter. Dip each rolled bite into finely ground nuts and place on a plate. After all the bites are rolled and coated, stick them in the fridge to firm up for at least an hour. You can store them in the fridge; just put them in a sealed container and these will keep a long time.
Looking for more Passover recipes?
- See my Pesach / Passover Recipes for everyday Passover meal ideas.
- Recipes for seder night are filed under Seder Recipes.
- See here for Passover Desserts.
Moroccan Charoset Bites (parve)
- Food processor
- ¼ cup almonds, or substitute walnuts - 35 g
- ½ cup pitted dates - 90 g
- ⅓ cup raisins - 40 g
- 5-6 dried apricots
- 2-3 dried figs - optional, but recommended
- ½ -1 Tbsp orange juice, or substitute sweet wine or grape juice - 7-15 ml
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- pinch allspice - optional
- ½ cup finely ground almonds, or substitute walnuts - for rolling
- In a food processor, pulse nuts until coarsely chopped.
- Add the dates, raisins, apricots, figs (if using), and spices. Pulse to combine, then add ½ tablespoon orange juice and pulse until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add more orange juice as needed, just enough to make a cohesive mixture.
- Using your hands, gently roll the mixture into balls about ¾" / 2 cm in diameter. Roll each ball in ground almonds, which will prevent the balls from sticking to one another and make them easy to handle.
- Chill for at least an hour before serving. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.