Mimouna is when the doors of Moroccan Jewish homes are thrown wide open to friendship and everyone is welcome to partake in the festivities.
Mimouna is a joyous celebration of love, hope, faith and springtime. It’s the happy ritual that marks the end of Passover. Mimouna is when the doors of Moroccan Jewish homes are thrown wide open to friendship and everyone is welcome to partake in the festivities. Friends and family are clad in brightly colored caftans and everyone is greeted with a Judeo-Arabic blessing tir’bah u’tissad, may you prosper and succeed.
The tables are adorned with talismans of luck, fertility and prosperity. Five gold coins in a bowl of flour. Five fava beans laid out on a pastry. A live goldfish in a glass bowl. A green tree branch. Milk in a pitcher. Eggs in a bowl.
THE TABLES OVERFLOW WITH SWEETS. HOMEMADE JAMS, CANDIED EGGPLANT, WHOLE ORANGES COOKED WITH SYRUP AND CINNAMON STICKS. MARZIPAN AND MERINGUES AND COLORFUL COOKIES MADE WITH ALMONDS, PISTACHIOS, WALNUTS AND COCONUT.
The tables overflow with sweets. Homemade jams, candied eggplant, whole oranges cooked with syrup and cinnamon sticks. Marzipan and meringues and colorful cookies made with almonds, pistachios, walnuts and coconut.
The star of the show is moufleta, a thin pancake that can be made quickly after the sun sets. In Morocco, the flour was brought to Jewish homes by Muslim neighbors at the appointed hour, proof of their peaceful coexistence. Skillful chefs use their bare hands to flip each pancake, adding and flipping, landing up with a large stack. Exquisitely dripping with butter and honey, moufleta is the dreamy first bite of chametz after Passover. (You can find our moufleta recipe online at the Jewish Journal or on our website SephardicSpiceGirls.com)
KEEP THESE RECIPES HANDY, BECAUSE THEY’RE PERFECT FOR PASSOVER, MIMOUNA OR ANYTIME YOU’RE FEELING FESTIVE.
In anticipation of this years festivities, we whipped up some easy, crispy meringues and dipped them in melted chocolate and pistachios. We blended fresh mint, fresh lemon juice and arak for the best spiked limonana ever. Keep these recipes handy, because they’re perfect for Passover, Mimouna or anytime you’re feeling festive.
Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Meringues
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon himalayan pink salt
4 teaspoons corn starch or potato starch
2 teaspoons white or apple cider vinegar
8 oz dark chocolate
1 cup shelled pistachios, roughly crushed
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In clean bowl of a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat egg whites, starting on low speed. As the eggs become foamy, gradually increase to high speed.
- Once egg whites form stiff peaks, gradually add the sugar until it has all been incorporated.
- When the mixture is thick and glossy, add the salt, corn starch and vinegar. Beat for 1 minute.
- Place meringue into a piping bag and pipe onto prepared baking sheet.
- Lower oven to 200°F and bake for two hours.
- Leave in the oven to dry out overnight.
- Melt chocolate in the microwave.
- Coat the bottom of the meringues by dipping into melted chocolate, then dip into crushed pistachios.
- Allow to harden, then store in airtight container until ready to serve.
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4 cups ice
1 cup fresh mint leaves
5 oz arak
- In a small saucepan, combine water and sugar. Place over medium heat and whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves. Set aside and let cool.
- In a blender, combine the sugar water, fresh lemon juice, mint leaves and arak.
- Pulse for a few seconds, then blend until all the ice is thoroughly crushed.
- Serve immediately.
Sharon Gomperts and Rachel Emquies Sheff have been friends since high school. The Sephardic Spice Girls project has grown from their collaboration on events for the Sephardic Educational Center in Jerusalem. Follow them on Instagram @sephardicspicegirls and on Facebook at Sephardic Spice SEC Food.