We had all heard whisperings about this incredible thing called mufleta, a secret recipe made by Moroccan Jews to mark the end of Passover. So when Elizabeth Schwartz shared her recipe with us, we were excited. Mufletas are yeast pancakes, made of soft dough and fried on one side only; the second side of each pancake cooks as it lies on top of a growing stack right in the pan. We literally tore them to bits, not being able to stuff the soft crumpet-like pancakes, dripping in butter and honey, into our mouths fast enough. Elizabeth’s recipe first appeared on The Weiser Kitchen.

— Monday Morning Cooking Club

"When I make or eat foods from my childhood and youth, I yearn for my mother, grandmother, father and all the people I have lost who handed me my first bites – seasoned with love. It’s a very Jewish thing that the salt that flavours our food comes from our tears.

Some people learn to cook from their mothers and some learn to cook in spite of them. My mother was a professional so she didn’t have time to linger in the kitchen, but she made a brilliant stuffed cabbage and my brother and I would live for those moments. When I was developing the recipes for A Wandering Feast: A Journey Through the Jewish Culture of Eastern Europe, I spent a wonderful afternoon in the kitchen with her, learning the art of this heirloom.

I grew up in a very assimilated household and really only delved into my heritage as an adult. It was that yearning for connection that led to every aspect of my life, including my art, my cooking, my music, my beautiful husband, Yale Strom, and my family. I realise now the food I loved as a child was always traditional Jewish style. I would visit my grandmother’s apartment every week and snack on sweet milky tea and egg matzos slathered with sour cream. My great-aunt Yetta took me to lunch at New York delis where I would have endless bowls of sour pickles and coleslaw. Every bite of my coleslaw salad reminds me of visits to my grandma. I experimented with many versions over the years, but this tangy recipe was my eureka moment."

'It’s a very Jewish thing that the salt that flavours our food comes from our tears.'

— Elizabeth Schwartz

"My husband and I are both klezmer musicians and I can trace this passion back to my Romanian roots, the birthplace of my father’s family. I have a very mixed European heritage, but both my parents were born in New York. I was a Hollywood executive for eight years, and now live in the San Diego area. I love to visit New York as often as possible; it’s still the best place to go for a good kosher pickle.

There is a direct line from our history to our culture, and for me, as someone passionately devoted to yiddishkeit and a proponent of Jewish art, this is at the heart of everything I do, as a writer, as a musician and as a cook."

— Elizabeth Schwartz

 

MUFLETA

Ingredients:

1 sachet (7 g/2¼ teaspoons) active dried yeast
375 ml (1½ cups) warm water
500 g (3¹⁄³ cups/1 lb 2 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 heaped tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
125 ml (½ cup) light olive oil butter and honey, to serve

Directions:

 

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook (or in a mixing bowl), combine the yeast, water and ¼ cup of the flour and allow to stand for 5 minutes or until the mixture foams. Add the remaining flour, sugar and salt. Knead the dough for 5 minutes in the electric mixer or 8–10 minutes by hand; it will be a very sticky dough. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel (dish cloth) and allow to rise for 1 hour or until double in size.

Pour three-quarters of the olive oil into a bowl. Spread the remaining oil on a large rimmed baking tray. With a knife, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Lightly dip your hands in the bowl of oil and, with greased hands, shape each piece into a ball. Dip each ball quickly into the bowl of oil and place the balls on the oiled tray. Cover again with the towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Grease a heavy-based frying pan and your benchtop with oil. Set the pan over medium–high heat. With oiled hands, take a ball of dough, place it on the oiled benchtop and flatten it with a stroking, outward motion to form a thin, nearly translucent disc about 20 cm (8 inch) diameter.

Place the circle of dough in the hot pan and cook for about 3 minutes or until it browns slightly.

Meanwhile, make another disc with the next ball of dough. After this point, you won’t need to oil the pan, since the dough will provide enough oil.

Flip the first pancake over and place the second one on top of it, on the just-cooked side. Let it cook for a minute or until the underside is golden, then turn over both the pancakes together (now the new pancake will be facing down, and the first one facing up). Place a new circle of dough on top of the stack, and flip the whole thing. Repeat with the remaining dough so that you have a stack of 12 pancakes in the pan by the end. Once you remove the mufletas from the pan, cover them quickly with a tea towel, so they stay hot and moist. Serve with butter and honey.

Makes 12