1/2 cup dried, pitted dates (choose
a soft variety like Medjool),coarsely chopped
1 1/2 heaping
tablespoons dried tart cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup unsweetened purple grape
juice or kosher sweet Concord wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
30 to 35 almonds
30 to 35 tart dried apricots, plumped in
very hot water until softened and patted dry with paper towels
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the nuts out in a single layer in a baking pan and toast them, shaking
the pan occasionally, until the nuts are fragrant and lightly toasted, 10 to
12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Put the raisins, dates and cherries or cranberries in a bowl. Stir in the
grape juice or wine, lemon juice and cinnamon. Let the fruit macerate for at
least 15 minutes.
When the nuts are cool, set the almonds aside and place the walnuts in a
food processor. Using the steel blade, pulse on and off until the walnuts are
Add the macerated fruit and any liquid remaining in the bowl to the food
processor. Pulse on and off until the mixture is a coarse paste. Transfer to
a bowl and chill so that mixture will be easier to roll. (The charoset tastes
best if flavors are allowed to mingle for several hours.)
Form heaping teaspoons of the mixture into balls and place each on a softened
apricot half. Press an almond into each ball at a jaunty angle.