Tag Archives: nuts


masapan_-ojaldres_-mustachudos1MUSTACHUDOS  (“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. Continue reading


Filed under Glossary, Holidays (fiestas judias)

masapan (glossary)

In the foreground, a plate of pistachio and lemon masapan. Photo © Janet Amateau.

In the foreground, a plate of pistachio and lemon masapan. Photo © Janet Amateau.

MASAPÁN (“mä-sä-PÄN) – To most people outside of Spain this is marzipan, but the similarity ends there.  Traditional Sephardic masapán is made from fresh, ground almonds (or a mixture of almonds plus other Mediterranean nuts), sugar and water, and may be scented with a few drops of rose water.  It is delicate in flavor, texture and color – neither gummy nor icky-sweet, and tinted only with the hues of its natural ingredients: creamy ivory from blanched almonds, delicate brown from hazelnuts, soft green from pistachios, pale yellow from lemons. 

Masapán is a compound word formed from “masa” (dough) and “pan” (bread).  The recipe contains no grain flour, however, for which it is presumed to have originated as a Passover confection.   Whether or not invented for that specific holiday, it is Jewish in origin and identified as such in documents from the Spanish Inquisition.

Masapán is still a prized confection in modern Spain, where it is a specialty of Toledo (a city of major importance in Sephardic history) and of various orders of nuns.

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Filed under Glossary, History, Holidays (fiestas judias)