Thursday of Holy Week is where the story of Christ’s passion turns toward the cross. On this night we remember Jesus gathering with his disciples in an upper room, celebrating passover, and instituting the Lord’s Supper as meal for his disciples. The Lord’s Supper or Eucharist is a meal of liberation, like passover, with a focus on freedom from sin and death. Because Christ said that this meal was his body and blood, Christians all over the world experience the presence of Christ in tangible ways as they keep this feast. Most churches have a special Communion service on this day. The Gospel of John speaks to the other events that happened at the meal as well. Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and give them his new and main commandment or teaching – to love one another. The sharing of this meal and the communal washing of feet shows that the focus of this day and all of Holy Week is on love.
On this day we recommend making haroset, which is a middle-eastern treat of fruit, nuts, and spices ground into a paste. Haroset is an important part of the Jewish sedar meal, reminding the faithful of the mortar the Hebrew children used to lay Pharaoh’s bricks. While this part of the sedar meal does not date back to the time of Jesus, it is the type of food that Jesus and the disciples could have eaten at the last supper. It helps us tie the Lord’s Supper to the Passover in a powerful and sweet way. You may also make enough for it to be a side at Easter, because Passover for Christians is Easter Sunday. We enjoy our haroset with a simple homemade cracker. Special food for these holy days is a great way to teach our children why, “these nights are not like all the others” and focus on the central teaching of Jesus—love.
The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci; From 1495 until 1498; tempera on gesso, pitch and mastic; 700 cm (280 in) × 880 cm (350 in); housed by the refectory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.
Haroset and Crackers
1 1/2 cups red wine
2 1/2 cups raisins
1 1/2 cups dried dates, chopped
3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups roasted almonds
- Bring 1 1/2 cups red wine to a light simmer on medium heat, then stir in 2 1/2 cups raisins, 1 1/2 cups dried dates, 3/4 cup dried apricots, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Cook uncovered for about 15 – 20 minutes or until fruit is well hydrated and wine has become a thick syrup. Add salt to taste and set aside.
- In a food processor, roughly chop the 1 1/2 cups roasted almonds using short pulses. No whole almonds should remain; medium and small chunks of almonds are preferable. Remove almonds from food processor and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the fruit mixture to the food processor and pulse until fruit just begins to come together into a paste, 2 to 3 one-second pulses. Be careful not to overprocess.
- Combine the almonds and fruit mixture in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Enjoy with crackers.
Homemade Cracker Recipe
4 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup water (plus up to 1/2 cup additional warm water)
- Preheat the oven with baking stone inside to 500°F. If you don’t have a baking stone, a regular baking sheet will also suffice.
- In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients, starting with the least amount of water. The dough will at first be very crumbly. Slowly add additional water until the dough just starts to hold together. I find the best way to add water is to wet your hands and then knead the dough a little. If it needs more water, wet your hands again and continue mixing and kneading. It’s important to not make the dough too wet. Once the dough starts to hold together, knead for a few minutes and then form into a ball.
- Let the dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Flatten each piece slightly and pass it repeatedly through a pasta maker, if you have one. Reduce the thickness of the pasta maker each time until you eventually reach the thinnest setting. If you don’t have a pasta maker, roll the dough using a rolling pin, making it as thin as possible.
- Trim the rolled-out dough pieces into rectangles. Use a fork to poke holes in the surface of the dough.
- Carefully place a few of the rectangle dough pieces onto the preheated baking stone or baking sheet. Watch closely and bake until the surface of the cracker is golden brown and bubbly, between 30 to 90 seconds.
- Using tongs, carefully flip the cracker and continue to bake until the other side is golden browned and lightly blistered, 15 to 30 seconds.
- Let the crackers cool before serving.
- Repeat the process until all the dough is used.