This recipe comes from Rita Sasso a Panamanian whose roots go back to Spain via Amsterdam and Curacao, a major Jewish colony in the 17th and 18th centuries. Rita and I became pen pals when I published a recipe in my Reform Judaism column that I was given to me by a friend in Mexico. She recognized the recipe as her own. We have shared recipes ever since and here is one she gave me with her permission to publish.
4 ounces dried figs
4 ounces raisins
4 ounces prunes
4 ounces pitted dates
1 ½ cups peanut butter, or almond butter (peanuts are often excluded for Pesach)
2-3 cups brown sugar –according to taste
½ cup sweet kosher wine-as needed
Cinnamon-enough to cover balls of Charoset (approx 1 ½ ounce)
1. Place the dried fruits in a processor work bowl and process the dried fruits until a relatively smooth paste is formed.
2. Add the peanut butter and brown sugar to the processor work bowl and pulse on and off a few times to begin to combine the ingredients. The machine will only begin the process as mixture will be thick.
3. Remove mixture to a bowl and continue to combine the ingredients kneading with your hands.
4. Little by little add the wine to the mixture until you obtain a firm ball of fruit. This mixture will be quite sticky. If necessary, refrigerate for ½ hour until mixture firms up a little.
5. Wet your hands periodically with cold water and form small balls of Charoset about the size of a small walnut.
6. Place balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet and put in the freezer until frozen.
7. Once the balls are hard you can remove them to a freezer bag until needed.
8. Just before serving, defrost and roll each ball in cinnamon. Serve.
Yield 2 or more dozen balls depending on size.
• Do not double this recipe unless you have a very large food processor or the mixture will be too difficult to combine thoroughly.