For Moroccan Jews, Mimouna fest ends Passover in sweet style

The first night after Passover, Jews of Moroccan heritage celebrate Mimouna and keep the party going.

Historically, they and their Muslim neighbors would exchange food baskets, including gifts of flour and yeast to replenish Jewish pantries. Open houses with tables groaning with sweets awaited revelers. As these Jews immigrated to other parts of the world, they brought Mimouna traditions with them, especially to Israel.

Aliza Harari is a teacher at the Jewish Community High School in San Francisco and an Israeli of Moroccan descent. “My memories from Mimouna have to do with music, costumes and lots of sweet foods,” she says. “The main dish is called mufleta, which is like a thin tortilla, homemade, on the spot. It is eaten with butter and honey that you spread on it, roll it and eat it, and usually it drips on your shirt! It is the highlight of every Mimouna.”

The chewy, pancake-like bread can also be eaten with Honey Caramel Sauce or Eggplant-Tomato Conserves. Put a tablespoon or two of either in the middle, roll up and enjoy.


Mufleta

Makes 8-10 pancakes

  • 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3⁄4 cup water, room temperature, plus extra
  • 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil, plus extra

Stir flour and salt together in large bowl. Add water, mixing until dough comes together. Add additional flour or water as needed until smooth and not sticky. Knead by hand a minute. Cover. Let rest 10 minutes. Pour ¼ cup oil onto a plate. Form dough into 1½-inch balls. Roll in oil. Lightly grease small fry pan and heat over medium high heat. Grease work surface. Using fingers or rolling pin, flatten a ball and stretch into thin 6-inch circle. Fry 2-3 minutes on each side in heated pan until cooked and lightly browned. Set aside. Cover to keep warm. Repeat. Serve immediately.


Honey Caramel Sauce

Makes 1 cup

  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup mild honey
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat; add honey and cream, whisking constantly until blended. Raise heat to low medium and cook, still whisking, for 20 minutes until thick and syrupy. Cool to room temperature (it will continue to thicken). Gently reheat if desired.


Eggplant-Tomato Conserves

Makes 3 cups

4 cups ¾-inch-cubed, peeled eggplant

1⁄4 cup plus ¼ tsp. salt

3 Tbs. plus 2 Tbs. olive oil

1 1⁄4 cups thinly sliced onion

2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus extra

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

1⁄8 tsp. red pepper flakes

1⁄8 tsp. ground black pepper

1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 cup honey, plus extra

Toss the eggplant with ¼ cup salt and put in colander. After 30 minutes, rinse well, drain and blot dry.

Heat 3 Tbs. oil in large fry pan. Sauté onion over low heat 15 minutes until soft and brown. Remove from pan. Heat 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant. Sauté until lightly browned. Add onions, zest, juice, tomatoes with liquid, red pepper, black pepper, cinnamon and honey. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally. Taste. Add ¼ tsp. salt if needed. Cook until eggplant is soft and mixture is very thick. Correct seasonings, adding more lemon juice or honey as needed to get a more sweet than sour taste.

Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at [email protected].