MUSTACHUDOS (“mōō-stä-CHŌŌ-thōs”) Here is a prime example of the way in which many Sephardic foods are infused with symbolism.
As a general rule, Sephardic custom doesn’t call much for cooking with wine. There are exceptions, of course, and these can be unusual enough as to impact the name of the recipe in question. During Passover, any wine consumed must be ‘new’; this means using either grape juice or young wine that is kosher for Passover. The mustachudo gets its name from this specific ingredient: musto in Ladino; mosto in Spanish and Italian, must in English. The name has absolutely nothing to do with ‘little moustaches’, despite the similar-sounding root word.
Made from chopped nuts and flavored with red wine and spices, the mustachudo is a Passover cookie from Rhodes that is related to the mostacciolo, a traditional, wine-infused cookie from southern Italy. The texture is ever so slightly rough and chewy, the flavor more spicy than sweet, and the shape a pyramid (albeit with little indents around the peak).
Though not included on the Seder plate, mustachudos nevertheless overflow with symbolic references; the new wine, absence of flour or leavening, the bittersweet flavor, rough texture and pyramid shape make them a quintessential Passover food. In the photo, mustachudos are in the center on the right.
2 responses to “Mustachudos”
Dear Janet., I was at a sukkah party recently. The hostess served a fried leek and spinach patty. She said it is a Spanish dish of Jewish origin,. Do you have a receipe? Thanks, Carolyn Foster
Carolyn, these are called ‘keftes de prasa’. I’ve got two recipes in the blog, one with only leeks and one with leeks and pancakes. You can add spinach to either one – the technique would be to wilt fresh spinach leaves in a covered pot, then squeeze out the excess moisture and add them to the mixture. To access the recipes here, click on ‘leek pancakes’ in the Tags column to the right. — JA (make that ‘leeks and potatoes’ above – JA)