BOSTON ““ Robin Cohen, a computer programmer turned national award-winning cook and food writer, recalls vivid childhood memories of her family’s Passover kitchen, when charoset was made in a large, old-fashioned wooden chopping bowl.
The fragrant flavors of charoset past inspired Cohen to create Seder Sweetness, a new jarred fruit conserve that will be available in Boston-area shops. The recipe is not hard for home cooks to follow, she says.
The idea for Seder Sweetness jelled last fall, when Cohen began selling her fruit conserves and preserves at local farmers’ markets. Cohen, who won Micheal Ruhlman’s 2011 national holiday cooking challenge for her rugelach, had just launched Doves and Figs Kitchen, a home-based business devoted to making and selling fruit preserves using local fresh fruit.
Cohen makes a sugar syrup with sweet kosher wine, lemon and honey, then adds chopped apples and toasted walnuts (recipe below).
She is branching out with other Passover-inspired conserve recipes, including savory ones. She is now testing recipes for an apple-horseradish preserve embellished with mint as a touch of Passover greenery. Horseradish is trendy in the food world right now, Cohen says.
Last Passover, Cohen got playful, offering a recipe on her blog for Wicked Son Eggs and Drunken Passover Grilled Cheese using kosher for Passover cheddar cheese, matzah, and sweet kosher wine.
But making jams, conserves, and preserves is her passion, and a family tradition.
Robin Cohen’s Seder Sweetness
8 cups apples (measure after peeling, coring, and dicing)
1 cup water
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup nuts
1/4 cup kosher sweet wine
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
Toast walnuts in a 350 degree oven until lightly toasted and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Combine sugar, water, wine, lemon juice, and spices in a large pot and cook over medium high heat until slightly thick and syrupy (about 10 minutes). Stir in apples and cook over medium heat until apples soften slightly. Boil until liquid starts to set (will be softer than a traditional jam). Remove cinnamon stick, mix in nuts. Refrigerate or can. Yield: 8-10 8-ounce jars.
JTA Wire Service