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A Taste of Morocco from a Cross-Cultural Cookbook

November 6, 2013
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Moroccan Jews traditionally prepare sfinge instead of jelly donuts for Chanukah.
With the one-in-a-lifetime confluence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah coming up in a few weeks, why not try something new and different for your holiday meal?
 
Read on for recipes for a dried fruit side dish and traditional Moroccan donuts reprinted with permission from The Jewish Kitchen Diaries: A Journey Through Time and Culture, a cookbook celebrating Philadelphia’s Partnership2Gether connection with Netivot and Sedot Negev in southern Israel. 
 
The book includes contributions from local foodies as well as many of the Israeli women participating in a municipal program designed to help them employ their cooking expertise in a catering business. The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has helped fund this program for the past five years and recently brought seven of the "Spice Girls" from Netivot to the area for a week of cooking demonstrations.
 
Copies of the book can be picked up from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia for a $30 donation. Contact Ashley Colabella at the Federation’s Center for Israel and Overseas: acolabella@jfgp.org, 215-832-0537. 
 
Sfinge 
By: Simona Yifrach
 
Moroccan Jews traditionally prepare sfinge instead of donuts for Chanukah. Year long, though, their addictive taste makes this calorie-rich dessert popular on other occasions, as well.
 
Sfinge Ingredients:
2 eggs 
2 Tbsps. dry yeast
3 Tbsps. oil plus oil for frying
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsps. Araq
2.2 lbs. flour
1/2 packet baking powder
3 cups luke warm milk
 
Syrup Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 packets vanilla sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
 
In a large bowl mix the eggs, yeast, oil, sugar and Araq.
 
Add the flour, salt, baking powder and water. Knead until the mixture is light and smooth.
 
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an hour, until it doubles in volume. 
 
With wet hands, knead the dough to remove air bubbles, cover and let rise for another 20 minutes.
 
Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot. 
 
With wet hands form the dough into hoops. As soon as the oil is boiling hot, carefully immerse the hoops and fry for about a inute on each side, until golden. Transfer the prepared donuts to a colander and allow the excess oil to drip off.
 
To Prepare the Syrup: Bring all the syrup ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan.
 
Reduce the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes until the syrup thickens. 
 
When the syrup is hot and thick remove fromheat and dip the donuts in on each side. Serve hot.
 
Makes 20 to 24 donuts.
 
Tanziah 
By: Aliza Abekassis 
 
A traditional side-dish made of dried fruits that is usually served on festive occasions. Serve with sweet couscous, rice or on its own.
 
7 oz.white raisins
7 oz. pitted prunes
7 oz. dried apricots, pitted
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
7 oz. walnuts
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
 
Rinse the raisins, prunes and apricots. Soak them in water for 10 minutes. Rinse again and drain.
 
In a medium pot, cook the sugar, water and lemon juice on a high flame until you get  a clear liquid.
 
With the liquid still bubbling, add the dried fruit and cook until the liquid evaporates, the fruit becomes sticky and attains a honey-like hue.
 
Add the walnuts and cinnamon (if desired), stir and cook for 3 more minutes. Serve hot.

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