Charoset Ices

charoset ices

Last year in Israel, we discovered that Ben and Jerry’s manufactures Charoset ice cream for Pesach (Passover).  We bought it at the Israel supermarket for its Passover-themed value but we devoured it for its delicious taste.

charoset ice cream.png

After all,  charoset is a traditional dip consumed at the Passover Seder. It is typically prepared with chopped apples, nuts, cinnamon and red wine or grape juice.   The charoset is a  gritty dip for the Maror (bitter herbs) that symbolizes the mortar used by the Jews to fashion bricks while they were enslaved in Egypt.

The apples and grape juice or wine lend a sweet taste to this dish and make for the perfect combination of ingredients to prepare charoset ices.  This will make the perfect dessert for your Pesach meal.



3-4 apples, cut into large chunks
1 cup wine or grape juice
dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup nuts
1 cup frozen grapes
small romaine heart (optional, for garnish)


Using the s-blade of the food processor, puree all ingredients except romaine heart until just combined.

Freeze until solid or overnight.

Once frozen, remove from freezer and defrost just enough to scoop back into the food processor fitted with the s-blade.

Pulse sorbet in food processor just until smooth.  Refreeze.

To allow for simple entertaining, I usually defrost for 20-30 minutes before scooping.

Garnish with a small piece of romaine lettuce.


Any frozen fruit may be substituted for the frozen grapes.  Just make sure to taste puree and blend with enough wine or  juice for optimal sweetness.  Honey may be added as well to sweeten the sorbet.


I scoop the sorbet into small cups in advance and freeze in the cups until ready to serve. That speeds up the serving of a frozen dessert and keeps everything tidy.    I add the garnish at the end so that the leaves stay fresh and green.charoset ices.jpg

Frosted Candied Grapes

Grapes are featured prominently at the annual Pesach (Passover) seder (festive meal, lit: order).  After all, we drink four cups of wine or grape juice and the seder ceremony begins with the kiddush (santification) over the first cup of wine (or grape juice).  Wine is featured in the charoset (fruit and nut dip symbolizing mortar) for the maror (bitter herbs).

The seder is a mixture of tradition and whimsy.  It is the only night on the Jewish calendar when we sing Hallel (songs of praise) and tell the story of Egypt at length.  It is an evening in which we engage the children and pass these Jewish traditions from generation to generation.  In fact, so much of the elements of the seder are intended to pique the interest of our children.

Which brings me to candied grapes.  We are taught that parents are to give their children special foods and gifts in order to engage them at the seder.  So, why not combine the elements of tradition and whimsy in creating these adorable and delicious candied grapes?

One note of caution, though.  The round shape of the grapes  can create a choking hazard for small children.  These grapes should not be given to young children, unless they are quartered.

These grapes can make a delicious snack or the perfect garnish for desserts.

candied grapesINGREDIENTS

1 box jello


Rinse individual grapes thoroughly in a colander. Spread jello powder in a pie plate or large plate.  Coat grapes with powder.    Place on waxed or parchment paper to dry.
Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow gelatin to set.


The round shape of the grapes  can present a choking hazard for small children.  These grapes should not be given to young children, unless they are quartered.

Seder Table Ideas and Inspirations

Every year, I try to set a majestic and unique seder table.  There is something magical about that first Pesach (Passover) meal: the anticipation, the new dishes and the silver wine goblets.

seder black tablecloth wide view

Over the years, I have tried all types of tablecloths and seder themes.  There are a few helpful tips that I have incorporated into my seder planning that have stuck and I’d love to share these tips with you.


seder table 2


Simple Low-Carb Broccoli Crust Pizza: Perfect for Passover

brocolli pizza crust-in ovenCauliflower rice has become the rage as an ingredient in faux fried rice and as a low-carb pizza crust alternative.  As an experiment, I tried similar adaptations of broccoli and have found it to work beautifully.

My family is always looking for something delicious and nutritious to eat on Erev Pesach (the eve and day before Passover begins).  Since we cannot eat bread and it is customary not to eat Matzo until the seder, it is a challenge to find satisfying foods that will keep everyone full until the seder begins later in the evening  evening.

I have created this delicious low-carb broccoli pizza recipe, suitable for Pesach.  It is a simple pizza to prepare and pretty much fool-proof, as long as you keep the crust as dry as possible.  It is important to squeeze out any liquid before baking and to layer the cheese on before any sauce to keep the crust as dry as possible.  Feel free to experiment with different toppings.

It is simple.  It is delicious.  It will create a wow for your family this Erev Pesach.


Five Simple Ways to Rediscover the Wow in Pesach

I love Pesach (Passover).  I love the purity and the newness.  I love the springtime freshness and the themes of freedom and family.  I don’t mind the cleaning and the rotation of special dishes and ingredients.

The secret is that I do a bare minimum of the cleaning and really try to put the emphasis on the true themes of this holiday.  It takes some organization, but there is a true sense of mastery and majesty that comes with Pesach that takes my breath away.

Here are five simple ways to retain the magical wow of Pesach:

(1) Keep the cleaning simple

Focus on ridding your house of chametz (leavened products) only and do not be tempted to do a thorough spring cleaning.  It is not necessary to wash curtains, organize closets and steam-clean your carpets.  If you must, save the spring cleaning until after Pesach.

(2) Stay organized

Start as early as possible segregating the chametz (leavened products) so that you can use up what you have before Pesach.   If possible, shop, prepare menus and recipes and cook in advance so that you are not overwhelmed.  Although I love to prepare fresh meals, for Pesach, I prepare all my baked goods, meats and side dishes in advance and freeze them.   This cuts down on the magnitude of the cooking in the days before Pesach.

(3) Don’t lose your focus

With all that there is to do, make sure that the focus is on freedom, family and tradition. Make sure that everyone is well-rested and prepared before the seder.  Enlist the help of your family and design your seder in a way that is meaningful to all your family members. Try to prepare foods and traditions that will create everlasting memories and keep the food choices and preparations to a minimum.  Encourage each of your family members and guests to share ideas and inspirations at your seder.

(4) Don’t forget to take care of yourself

Try to get enough sleep and relaxation before the holiday begins.  Make sure to eat well, especially  on Erev Pesach (the day of the Passover seder).  Even with the best organization, the magnitude of Pesach preparation is huge, so reward yourself.  Buy yourself something new for the holiday or pamper yourself.  Buy a new tablecloth, a new outfit, a new haggadah or schedule a massage or facial.

(5) Do something to create that eternal wow

Try to take the emphasis off the material preparation and refocus it on the spiritual preparation for the holiday of Pesach.  Take some time to read the Haggadah before the seder, perhaps with a new commentary.   Try to find family outdoor time over Chol Hamoed (intermediary days of Passover) and find time for family discussion about the themes of Pesach before, during and after the seder.

Think about creating a seder table theme.   In the past, our daughter, Leah, has decorated our seder table with elements of the ten plagues and the splitting of the sea.  It gets our family and guests engaged.

Pesach commemorates freedom from our enslavement in Egypt and the beginning of the Jewish people coming together as a nation.  The seder is designed to engage our children and pass our rich heritage and traditions down to others.  Let us remain true to these goals and release ourselves from the enslavement all too often associated with this beautiful holiday.

With best wishes for successful and joyous Pesach preparations….