The Jewish holiday of Purim begins this coming Saturday night, the 15th of March, and continues through Sunday. In Jerusalem and other ancient walled cities, the holiday is called Shushan Purim and occurs on Sunday night, the 16th, through Monday.
Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, is said to have eaten only raw fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds after she was taken to King Ahasuerus’s palace, so managing to eat only kosher foods in her captivity. At her uncle Mordechai’s command, she kept her Jewish identity secret until the day when she made her dramatic accusation against the villain, Haman. For these reasons, Jews serve hamentaschen, pastries with hidden fillings, and particularly enjoy foods featuring fruit and nuts on Purim.
Jewish custom requires every family to send baskets of goodies around to neighbors and friends on Purim day. We posted about Purim baskets here. Our green Purim baskets feature home-made bread, salads, and spreads like hummus – but we can’t neglect candy. Try these easily made chocolate fruit-nut clusters, made, naturally, with fair-trade chocolate. We know you’ll like them. Our neighbors say they look forward to them every year.
Chocolate Fruit-Nut Clusters
200 grams – 7 oz. bittersweet chocolate
60 grams – 2 oz. butter or margarine
300 grams – 10 oz. mixed dried fruit and nuts. Especially nice in the mix are candied citrus peels.
Melt the chocolate and butter (or margerine) in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir gently and constantly until the mass is smooth and glossy.
Add the fruit and nut mixture to the melted chocolate. Mix thoroughly.
Spoon the mixture into small paper cupcake cups by tablespoons, or onto a sheet lined with baking paper. There will be some liquid pooling at the bottom of the pot. Spoon it up and drizzle it over the clusters, filling up any empty spaces. It’ll get hard again, so use it all up.
Freeze the clusters for 1/2 hour before serving. If making them ahead of time, keep them in the refrigerator or freezer.
More Purim ideas on Green Prophet: