Charoset-Inspired Holiday Crostini
For a fun & festive twist on a traditional charoset recipe, serve it as a crispy holiday crostini appetizer! Unlike the classic apple and walnut charoset for Passover, I made this sweet fruit & nut dip with prune juice instead of wine, and served it on a crostini instead of with matzah crackers. A unique & inclusive appetizer idea for a holiday party that honors more than Christmas.
For another holiday crostini topping idea, try a Kalamata Olive Tapenade!
What is charoset?
Charoset (pronounced har-o-set) is a sweet dip or relish made of fruit, nuts, & wine, and it’s one of the symbolic foods eaten as part of the Passover Seder plate. Passover is a Jewish holiday commemorating the freeing of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. And charoset—from the Hebrew word cheres, meaning “clay”—symbolizes the mortar the enslaved Jewish people used to build the pharaoh’s buildings. Passover occurs in the spring, but a friend of mine suggested incorporating charoset as a crostini topping in my winter holiday party menu, and I loved the idea!
What do you eat with charoset?
Charoset is traditionally served cold with matzah crackers, and it’s eaten along with several other symbolic foods at the Passover Seder. But for a winter holiday party twist, I served this apple walnut charoset on little crostini toasts.
My intention here wasn’t to replicate traditional charoset, but to create a charoset-inspired dish that honors Jewish culture. Growing up in a multicultural home, I’ve experienced how this Christmas-focused time of year can feel isolating. That’s why I like to diversify a holiday party menu with dishes like my nostalgic baklava bites—and this charoset crostini!
Apple and Walnut Charoset Ingredients
- Apples. A typical recipe for charoset calls for Gala or Fuji apples, but I also like Honeycrisp because they’re naturally sweeter with a hint of tartness. You could also use Granny Smith apples—or whatever apples you like!
- Walnuts. Although walnuts are also a traditional charoset ingredient, you could use a different nut like pecans or slivered almonds. Whichever variety you choose, I recommend toasting your nuts first for the best flavor.
- Prunes. This isn’t a traditional ingredient, but prunes add a burst of chewy sweetness that makes this easy charoset even tastier as a holiday crostini topper! You could also substitute with chopped dates, dried cranberries, raisins—or omit the dried fruit for a more traditional charoset.
- Prune Juice. I wanted to make charoset without wine, so I used prune juice for a dash of natural sweetness and moisture. Traditional recipes use sweet red wine like Manischewitz, but fruit juice is a simple substitute if you want an alcohol-free option.
- Honey. Charoset is meant to be both tart and sweet, so don’t forget to add some honey! You don’t need much, but always sweeten to your taste. If preferred, you could use brown sugar or white sugar instead of honey.
- Lemon Juice. The acidity in lemon juice brightens the flavors and keeps the chopped apples in this dip fresh.
- Spices. I kept it classic with just cinnamon and salt, but feel free to use other warm spices to give your charoset crostini appetizer even more holiday flair! Options like nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, allspice, or even pumpkin pie spice could all work well in this recipe.
How to Make Crostini at Home
In Italian, crostini means “little crusts” or “little toasts,” and that’s exactly what crostini are: little toasts made from a bread with a crust! Although you can buy premade crostini at the grocery store, it’s super easy to make your own crostini at home with just a baguette, oil, and salt.
- First, slice your baguette into about ½-inch thick slices, so your crostini will get nice and crispy.
- Then, brush each slice with light olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake the crostini for 6-8 minutes at 400°F. When your little toasts are golden and crisp to your liking, they’re done!
How to Serve Holiday Crostini with Charoset
Once you’ve tossed together your charoset, and your crostini are done toasting, you’re ready to serve! For a readymade option, you could serve the charoset on top of your crostini toasts, so guests can just grab a crostini and go. But for my holiday party appetizer, I decided to serve the charoset and crostini toasts next to each other in separate bowls. That way, everyone could assemble their own crostini with charoset and the toasts didn’t get soggy. You could also serve matzah crackers alongside the crostini—or any other dippers you like!
Holiday Crostini with Charoset
Apple Walnut Charoset
- 2 Fuji or Honeycrisp apples, peeled & diced
- ⅔ cup walnuts, toasted & chopped
- ⅓ cup prunes, diced
- 2 Tbsp prune juice
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 medium French baguette, (~10-12 inches)
- light olive oil
- pinch of salt, (optional)
How to Make Charoset
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Add walnuts to a baking sheet and toast for 7-10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before chopping.
- Peel apples and dice into bite-sized cubes.
- Add chopped apples to a large bowl with charoset ingredients, tossing to combine. Refrigerate or store covered at room temperature until ready to serve.
Holiday Crostini with Charoset
- Turn up oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).
- Slice baguette into ½-inch thick slices and arrange on a lined baking sheet in a single layer. Brush both sides with light olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake in the middle rack of the oven for 6-8 minutes (depending on size), until crispy and golden.
- Serve charoset with crostini, matza crackers, or whatever you like!
- Yields ~24 charoset crostini toasts.
Nutrition Notes:Per ¼ cup charoset:
51 calories | 2g fat | 8.5g carbs | 1.4g fiber | 5.9g sugar | 0.6g protein
13mg sodium | 0mg cholesterol Per 1 crostini toast:
28 calories | 0.7g fat | 4.5g carbs | 0.2g fiber | 0.2g sugar | 1g protein
47 sodium | 0mg cholesterol Nutrition is provided below per 1 holiday crostini with charoset, accounting for ~2 Tbsp charoset on each crostini toast.