Mofletas/mufletas may be less known than their Muslim cousins rghaif /msemmen but they are practically the same. Sure one is round, the other is square but the difference is only in shape. The taste and texture are the same.
Mofletas have more to them than a wonderful flaky texture and delicious buttery taste, they are often associated with a time when Muslims and Jews were very close. A time when they ate and celebrated together. They were made during Mimouna, a Moroccan holiday which united Muslims and Jews. I could go on and on about the beauty of this holiday but I thought the comment left by one of my readers about the experience of his Moroccan father-in-law captures the essence of it all:
“…he gets tears in his eyes when he recollects the good relations they had with their Muslim neighbors. He recounts how their Muslim neighbors wept when they left en masse to Israel in the early fifties. He also likes to tell about the Moroccan Jewish holiday of Mimouna, which marks the end of Passover. During Passover, the Moroccan Jews would not throw away the prohibited wheat flour (who could afford it?), but would entrust it to Muslim neighbors. At the conclusion of the holiday, they would reclaim it, and as a reward, would make sweets for Mimouna and invite their Muslim neighbors over. The main dish was a simple pancake called mufleta, served with honey. This is still the centerpiece of a Mimouna celebration.”
So, perhaps, as we continue to make mofletas and rghaifs we should reflect on our similarities. We all have the same needs after all. We all enjoy a flaky pancake doused with honey with a glass of mint tea. Why not do it together in harmony.
Makes 4 pancakes
½ cup whole wheat flour, sifted
½ cup all purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
Cornmeal or semolina (about ½ cup)
Whisk the flours and salt together. Mix the yeast with the warm water and sugar, let it activate for 10 minutes until frothy then add it to the flours. If the dough is a bit dry, add extra water, one tablespoon at a time. Mix the dough and knead it for 10 minutes until supple. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 2 to 3 hours somewhere warm.
Divide the dough into 4 balls. Combine the melted butter and olive oil in a bowl. Dip each ball in the butter-oil and flatten it with a rolling pin as thinly as possible without tearing it. Brush the flattened disc of dough generously with butter-oil mixture (about 1 tablespoon) and sprinkle it with cornmeal or semolina. Fold two ends of the dough in. Brush the folded ends with butter-oil mixture and sprinkle with cornmeal or semolina. Fold the other two ends in to obtain a square. Flatten with a rolling pin to a 6 to 7-inch square. Brush the square of dough generously with butter-oil on both sides.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Cook each mofleta until it has golden brown spots scattered throughout, 2 to 4 minutes per side.
Serve warm or at room temperature with honey and mint tea.