Sharope: white spoon sweet (Q & A)

Hello, Janet, Have you ever heard the word “sharope”? When I was a child, my grandmother who was Turkish would make a sweet, white paste which she kneaded on the tile floor. We would then snip off pieces and eat them. They tasted of vanilla, and the texture was like a paste, softer than caramel, and not formed. Can you help? – Yael

Yep!  Sharope (shah-ROH-peh)  is a spoon sweet.  It’s  a kind of meringue – a marshmallow creme, really – in which hot sugar syrup, rather than dry granulated sugar, is beaten into egg whites for a long, long time with a wooden dowel. Dry sugar separates quickly from beaten egg whites, but the cooked syrup is more stable and doesn’t separate (this, by the way, is also the process for making Italian meringue), so this is a sweet you can make and store in a jar.  Sharope might be flavored with lemon or almonds or, as in your grandmother’s case, vanilla, which would be delicious.  I’ve never heard of anyone kneading sharope on the floor!  It’s not usually so dense to even allow for that kind of handling, although the longer you beat the meringue, the more  taffy-like it becomes.  I’m guessing your grandmother either beat the meringue for a VERY long time or that she added mastic, which is what gives Turkish ice cream its taffy-like texture (For further explanation, take a look at my post about Dondurma).

If you’re familiar with Marshmallow Fluff, it’s pretty close to sharope – but it ain’t the same.

Thanks for your question, Yael.  A good one!

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20 Comments

Filed under Glossary, Holidays (fiestas judias), Your Questions Answered

20 responses to “Sharope: white spoon sweet (Q & A)

  1. Victor Algranti

    Hello Janet,I would like to know if you aware of SODRA, my father was Turkish and my Mom Amelie Sulam from Rhodos.It’s boiled Matza with garlick and lemon served with Parmegianno cheese, almost like pasta, we have this during Pesah. It is not a Rhodesli dish.

  2. I am so glad you posted this recipe and article, my Auntie Susie, my father’s sister always made sharope and I have thinking about giving it a try. Thanks!

  3. OMG! OMG, Janet! First, you recognized “sharope,” which I had been searching for FOREVER. Secondly, at the end of your reply, the word mastik appeared, and that cleared it all up. Yes, Grandma used mastik, I remember that now. In fact, I found a jar a long time ago in San Francisco, but forgot that word, too (we’re getting on in years!). Thank you SO much. I got goose bumps as I read your reply.

    • Janet Amateau

      You are so very welcome, Yael. It’s a genuine pleasure to know I’ve helped solve your mystery! — JA

  4. Hello! I just read the article about you and your restaurant. It is very timely for me and my family as we will be coming to Spain in June to visit our exchange student from last year and to celebrate our son’s Bar Mitzvah year. We live in the DC area but have no family here so are foregoing the traditional BM. Our host family had already planned a day excursion to Girona and I see you are close to there. I am interested in setting up a lunch at your restaurant. Can you email me with suggestions and I can tell you the date. Thank you

  5. So delighted to read about your food in Jane Black’s article in the Washington Post. I have been collecting Sephardic recipes for years now, so am happy to find your blog.

  6. As I’m following along in this blog, it occurs to me that it may be time for me to die. All these old, old memories from my childhood so long ago and far away … why now? I have just rediscovered revanadas de parida, and my grandmother’s fritata that she would make with leftover noodles. Forgot the name. Janet to the rescue??

    • Janet Amateau

      Whoops! This slipped by me, Yael. Some people make cuajado using noodles in the mix. Cuajado is a baked fritada, so I suspect that’s what you’re thinking of. For a longer explanation, take a look in the Sephardic food glossary (there’s a link in the right hand column), or search in these pages for the entries about cuajado (there are two). — JA

    • Janet Amateau

      Yael, you’re probably thinking of cuajado, which some people make Greek style using noodles, like a pastitso. Or kugel!. These are all variations on the same theme, a savory pudding of eggs, cheese and vegetable. There are a couple of entries in the blog for cuajado, under Recipes and in the Glossary.

    • Janet Amateau

      I see I answered this already 🙂

  7. This recalls me of the Divine Divinity Fudge…
    Could it be somehow related?

    I LOVE this blog, by the way! Thanks for sharing all those recipes that my father describes as being part of his childhood when his Nona was cooking for him…☺ ♥

    • Janet Amateau

      Yes, Tricotine, they are surely related. The ingredients and technique are virtually the same, with one important difference: the addition of corn syrup, an American invention from the 1880’s. Divinity Fudge, as is implied by the name, has a thicker consistency than sharope, closer to chocolate fudge. It can be cut in pieces and eaten with the fingers, whereas sharope is more fluid and is strictly a spoon sweet. Fannie Farmer published a recipe for Divinity Fudge in 1896; but our great grandmothers were making sharope well before then.

  8. Jay Franco

    My grandmother used fresh orange blossoms to flavor her sharope. I often think of sharope but have not been able to find it or a recipe to make it. Thank you!

  9. Ino Alvo

    My mother was making sharope using only sugar and vanilla, -adding occasionally some grated orange peel- and I loved it!
    In Greece one can find at the supermarket commercialized sharope as the Greeks too love it and call it “vanilia”. Another
    name used by Greeks is “ypobryxio” (=”submarine”) because it is served in cafes in a spoonful of vanilia submerged in a glass of ice-cold water.

    • Janet Amateau

      Ino, the Sephardic women of Rhodes served sharope from a bowl on a silver tray that was passed to each guest, who would take a small spoonful, eat it and follow that with a glass of ice cold water. Similar to what you describe. Also on the tray was another glass of water, into which each person placed their used spoon. This was just to whet the appetite during a social visit. Following the spoonful of sharope, out would come coffee, tea, and all kinds of cakes and pastries! How nice to know they serve sharope in Greek cafes 🙂

  10. Molly Neufeld

    My grandmother, who was Turkish, made sharope on Passover and as I recall, it’s a white paste made of sugar and lemon, that you spread over matza. This is very different from other definitions of sharope I read here.
    Happy Passover to all of you.
    Molly

    • Janet

      The texture of the sharope will be affected by the ratio of sugar to egg whites, so each cook’s is going to be different based on their own recipe. Making sharope without egg whites is a little hard for me to imagine, but if you’re saying your grandmother’s was more of a paste, that sounds like sugar and lemon to me, too. As for flavor, the two classic additions to sharope are lemon, almond, or a combination of both. Happy Passover to you, too, Molly!

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