It is hard to get a chef to part with a special recipe and when you finally get the recipe out of them, they may leave out key ingredients so that when you try to make it at home, it doesn’t taste like you had at their restaurant. I can understand why they don’t want to give away all of their secrets because chefs, cookbook authors and some bloggers work very hard at perfecting their recipes, and they don’t want to give them away for free.
This story rings true with Mr. BT’s haroset recipe. This recipe was a closely guarded secret of my husband’s and I have been trying for years to get his permission to post his recipe, but he has always refused. But this year, he finally gave in and is letting me post, well…..most of the real recipe. This version will still taste good, but he just couldn’t part with a few secret ingredients.
I introduced Mr. BT to Venetian-style haroset when we first met and he loved it at first taste. He decided to try making his own version, which he has perfected over the years, and it is the best I have ever had. It is not for the weary and some people will be shocked by its powerful punch.
Faye Levy’s Passover article on Haroset in the LA Times contains five delicious recipes, but the one that I had to try was the Haroset Bars. I had been searching for something new to make for the seder and this was perfect since we always have leftover haroset. I adapted her recipe because Mr BT’s haroset is already sweet enough and packed with dried fruit. I also substituted walnut meal for matza meal. I do not usually bake with matza meal.
My recipe produced a very moist bar and some of my relatives used a fork to eat them instead of using their hands, but that is probably because we are a little too European to eat dessert with our hands. I grew up eating fruit with a knife and fork, but I have learned to eat it with my hands. It took me years to eat fried chicken with my hands.
I think the marriage of haroset and chocolate was meant to be. This is definitely a recipe I will make again and again.
I hope that you and your family had a lovely Passover holiday.
Adapted recipe by Faye Levy
1/2 cup ground walnuts or almond flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
113g (1 stick) unsalted margarine or butter, soft, cut in small pieces
3 tablespoons mild olive oil
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (about 2.4 ounces)
1-1/2 cup (packed) haroset with Mr. BT's World Famous Thermonuclear Haroset (see below) or Faye's haroset
2 large eggs
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line the pan with foil and butter the foil.
In a medium bowl, mix the ground walnuts, potato starch and salt.
In a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, or in a stand mixer, beat the butter until it is smooth. Add the oil and the brown sugar; beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, beating thoroughly on high speed after each one. Add 4 tablespoons of the ground walnut mixture and beat over low speed. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the remaining ground walnut mixture. Stir in the haroset and chocolate pieces.
Transfer the batter to the pan and spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts and pat them lightly so they adhere to the batter. Bake until the top browns lightly and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out nearly clean, 18 to 22 minutes; if the wooden pick comes out chocolaty, test again. Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack.
Turn the brownies out gently onto a plate, then onto another plate or a cutting board so that the walnuts are on top. Using a sharp knife, cut it carefully into 16 bars. Serve at room temperature.
4 large Granny Smith apples, cored, but unpeeled and cut to 1/2 cm (1/4-inch, but really 1/5th) dice
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
150g (6 ounces) chopped walnuts
150g (6 ounces) chopped almonds
150g (6 ounces) dried Mediterranean apricots, cut into eighths
12 dried figs, stems removed, cut into twelfths
12 large Madjhool dates, pitted, quartered along its length, cut into fifths
12 pitted prunes, cut into eighths
150g (6 ounces) golden raisins
150g (6 ounces) dark raisins
1 cup sweet kosher wine
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup date honey (Silan)
3/4 cup sweet chestnut paste
Grated rind and juice of one orange
1/2 knob (about 1-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a micro-plane
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Place the apples in a large bowl and add the lemon juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Add more spices and sweet wine to taste.