Candied Baby Eggplant / Berenjenitas en Dulce

Dear Janet,
In Morrocco, 50s and 60s, I used to eat a Sefardi dessert I never found in any kosher or Sefardi cookery book… small aubergines or berenjenas en dulce. Maybe with honey or syrup.  La Senora Amalia was keeping this recipe for her family… So delicious!  Thank you — Mary, UK

Cooked sweets – purees, compotes, marmalades, pastes, hard candies and whole preserves – are a very important component of Sephardic culinary traditions and social customs.  Whole fresh and dried fruits, citrus peel, flower petals, seeds, nuts and even vegetables are transformed into sweets of various forms, textures, colors and flavors, to be served, with tea or coffee and perhaps a little pomp, when company comes.   My own grandparents and great grandparents, from Rhodes & Adalia, favored sweets made from quince, almonds, apricots, prunes, figs, tangerine peels, rose petals, apples, dates and sesame.  There are also recipes for lemons, grapefruit, pears, sour cherries, grapes, tomatoes, pumpkin and, in Moroccan tradition, eggplant (in case you’re wondering, eggplant is actually a fruit).  The list goes on.

Here is one of two candied eggplant recipes from “Dulce lo vivas,” a beautiful collection of Moroccan Sephardic desserts by Ana Bensadon that I will write about this month.  The book is only available in Spanish; the translation below is mine.   The departures here from Ottoman-style fruit preserves are the very lengthy cooking time and the combination of spices.   Traditional Ottoman fruit preserves call for milder flavorings – at most only one of the spices used here, plus rose or orange flower water or, as my dad would say, a little lemon juice.




Filed under Recipes, Your Questions Answered

5 responses to “Candied Baby Eggplant / Berenjenitas en Dulce

  1. Mar

    Hi, Janet! Beautiful blog! I’ll be linking you from mine… I’ve actually wishing there was something like this for ages. And this particular recipe sounds great.

  2. Hi, Janet.
    Great blog.
    When we visited Cyprus last year, we discovered mountain villages that focus on making “glyka,” exactly what you have described. They are served in Greek homes when you visit, one or two pieces of each on a plate. Amazing varieties and colors all in glass jars. You can overdose on the sugar, however.

  3. Diane Conti Tuncay

    I just had candied baby eggplant for the first time! It is unbelievably delicious and I hope to make this recipe soon. The sweet shop specializing in this is located in Iskanderum, Turkey. They used a tiny eggplant shaped like tear drops. The stem was removed and a fresh walnut was stuffed in the space. We also had inch thick strips of candied pumpkin, rind and flesh. Both have a firm candied skin all around and an almost gelled interior. Indescribably delicious!

  4. Despite living in Israel for almost 15 years, tonight was my very first maimouna. The spread was AMAZING and one of the dishes was candied baby eggplants! A quick Google to confirm what I had seen was actually what I had seen brought me here. Thanks so much!

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