Category Archives: Glossary

What do you call a Sephardic butter pastry (besides divine)?

My grandmother was born in Turkey and used to make bourekas and montees, which were essentially the same but shaped differently. The bourekas were turnovers filled with potato and cheese or rice or meat and onions, or spinaca. The montees used the same dough (oil, water, flour), but were made like spiral spanakopita. I’ve never found any info on montees anywhere on the web, and everyone I could ask is gone. Have you heard of them and can you tell me the origin of the name?
Thanks very much

Sure, Len!

First, let’s get you back on track with the spelling. “Montee” should be mantí, a pastry better known as mantikos.

Though your grandmother made her mantí from an oil dough, the name refers to its original star ingredient: butter. The word comes from manteca. In modern Spanish usage, “manteca” on its own brings to mind lard – emulsified pig fat – but the formal meaning indicates any emulsified fat derived from animals or plants. In the past, the specific fat was understood from context; under kosher law the consumption of fat from cow, sheep, and goat meats is forbidden, hence in a Sephardic kitchen, manteca would only mean butter. Continue reading



Filed under Glossary, Your Questions Answered

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!


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

Guëvos Haminados / Huevos Jaminados (Glosario)

Hay un articulo nuevo hoy en el glosario castellano, sobre los “huevos jaminados”.  Se lo encuentra aquí.

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Filed under Escrito en castellano, Glossary, History, Holidays (fiestas judias)

The glossary is back / Ha vuelto el glosario

My small-but-growing Sephardic food glossary is back online; there’s a link in the righthand column (or you can click here).  You can still find any related articles I’ve written here on the blog (and slowly but surely I’ll put cross-referenced links on all the various entries). 


Mi pequeño-pero-creciendo glosario de comida sefardí esta’ online de nuevo; hay un hyperlink a la derecha (o puedes cliquear aqui).  Todavía se encuentra aquí en el blog articulos relacionados que he escrito.  Y empiezo 0 – finalmente! – a traducir todo en castellano.

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Filed under Escrito en castellano, Glossary