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Perfecting a North African Kitchen Staple: Moroccan ‘Tortitas’

Perfecting a North African Kitchen Staple: Moroccan ‘Tortitas’

A crisp chew of Moroccan galette with a steaming cup of contemporary mint tea: That is the definition of a easy pleasure, a decide me up, an train in mindfulness, a meditative ritual.

A staple of the North African kitchen, “tortitas” as the Spanish Moroccans affectionately name them, are skinny, ethereal, crunchy cookies. A Moroccan host or hostess at all times had them readily available to serve to guests with a steaming pot of tea with vivid inexperienced spearmint leaves of “nana.”

Flavored with an intoxicating dose of arak or anise extract and fennel and sesame seeds, this recipe has been handed down via Rachel’s household from great-grandmothers to granddaughters.

“My mom is blessed with a lot endurance and she or he used a hand-cranked pasta maker to roll out a skinny dough. Her cookies have been ethereal and delicate. I’m much less affected person, so I exploit a rolling pin to flatten the dough on my counter.

“Often, I’ll pull out the pasta maker to make a savory model. I omit the sugar and the anise extract and add a teaspoon of salt.

“In but a unique model, I add a cup of freshly squeezed orange juice and an additional cup of flour to the recipe. This scrumptious addition leads to a softer, chewier cookie.

“Whichever manner I make them, I’m thrilled to serve them to my household. They’re my father’s favourite and he at all times beloved them together with his espresso. He had to surrender his espresso however the tortitas stayed.

“I’ve an vintage device that my mom introduced along with her from Morocco. A wheel with sharp spikes, you roll it over the dough to pierce it with little slits to make sure that the dough is crispy and baked via. It additionally creates a fairly design. Should you don’t have one, a fork works equally effectively.”

This centuries-old recipe has turn out to be a little bit of a misplaced artwork, nevertheless, there are some girls who nonetheless bake them. On the opening night time of the Sephardic Instructional Heart’s biannual Sephardic Movie Competition, we promote conventional Sephardic baked items graciously ready by the ladies of the Los Angeles Sephardic group. The beautiful galettes baked by Terese Chriqui show that her fingers are really blessed: Her thin-as-paper, crispy, scrumptious cookies are at all times the primary to promote out.

Tortitas are historically eaten with tea to interrupt the Yom Kippur quick. Right now after we start to plan our vacation menus, we hope you might be impressed to bake these subtly candy and fragrant treats for your loved ones and buddies.


6 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons anise extract or 2 tablespoons arak liquor (non-compulsory)
1-2 tablespoons anise/fennel seed, to style
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 cups flour

In giant bowl on stand-up mixer, combine eggs, sugar and oil till effectively blended.
Add the anise extract (or arak liquor), seeds and baking powder and blend.
Whereas mixing, add flour one cup at a time and proceed to combine.
Combine dough till it comes collectively and kinds a ball.
Let dough relaxation for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Divide dough in tennis ball-size items.
Roll out dough as thinly as potential. If utilizing pasta maker, use lasagna setting.
Pierce dough with fork or adorning device.
Lower into squares or use cookie cutter or consuming glass and minimize into circles.
Bake on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet for quarter-hour till golden.
Let cool for a number of hours till they’re crunchy.

Makes 40 to 50 cookies.

Rachel Sheff and Sharon Gomperts will reply cooking questions on Instagram at SephardicSpiceGirls or on Fb at Sephardic Spice SEC Meals. They’ve collaborated on Sephardic Instructional Heart initiatives and group cooking lessons.