ḤAROSET (Heb. חֲרוֹסֶת), paste made of fruit, spices, nuts, and wine which forms part of the seder rite on *Passover eve. It is symbolic of the mortar that the Jews made when they were slaves in Egypt. The word is of unknown origin. It has been suggested that it may stem from ḥeres (חֶרֶס, "clay"), because of the color resemblance. The ingredients vary in different communities; in most western countries, it is made of apples, chopped almonds, cinnamon, and red wine. In many Sephardi communities, however, the fruits, etc. that grew in Ereẓ Israel in Bible times – grapes, wheat (maẓẓah meal), dates, figs, olives, apricots, pomegranates, and almonds – are used. North Africans also include pine-nuts and hardboiled eggs, flavoring the paste with piquant and often pungent spices, such as ginger. Yemenites add other seasoning: e.g., chili pepper. In Israel, the bland occidental mixture is turned into a dessert by adding bananas, dates, candied peel, orange juice, and sugar. It is often served as a course of the meal.
M. Kasher, Haggadah Shelemah (1955), 62–64.
[Molly Lyons Bar-David]