Not to be confused with a muffuleta, the famous New Orleans sandwich, mofleta (or mufleta) is a Jewish Moroccan dessert prepared once a year during the festival of Mimouna. Celebrated immediately after Passover, Mimouna is a feast of hospitality and well wishes. Among its traditions is opening the house to neighbors and friends (even distant ones) and setting an extravagant table of treats—almost all of them sweet. Mofletas are the stars of the party—fried on the spot and served with honey and butter. The preparation is unusual, and as you will see, quite fun. Ruth Oliver once showed me how to do it, and in a matter of minutes I was flattening, frying, and flipping mofletas like a pro.
Makes about 40 pancakes
Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and knead by hand, adding the water gradually, until a dough forms. The dough should be very soft but not sticky. Cover and let it stand for 15 minutes at room temperature.
Pour the vegetable oil into a small bowl.
Pinch off pieces of dough the size of an egg and form them into balls. Dip the balls into the oil and arrange on a baking sheet (the oil will prevent the dough from drying). Pour the remaining oil on the dough. Now the balls can wait for the guests to arrive (but no more than one hour).
Heat a 10-to 12-inch (25-to 30-centimeter) nonstick frying pan over medium heat. On a well-oiled work surface, using the palm of your hand, gently flatten one ball to a thin pancake 10 inches (25 centimeter) in diameter.
Place the pancake in the frying pan (no need to oil the pan, obviously) and fry for about 10 seconds until golden, and flip to the other side. Meanwhile, flatten a second pancake and place it on top of the first one. Wait for 30 seconds and flip both pancakes together, so that the new one is now at the bottom. Flatten the next pancake and put it on top of the first two, then flip all three. Continue until you have a stack of 12 to 15 pancakes. Serve at once with butter and honey on the side. Repeat making stacks with the remaining pancakes.
Excerpted from JEWISH SOUL FOOD by Janna Gur. Copyright © 2014 by Janna Gur. Excerpted by permission of Schocken, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.