When I came across Arik Darhani and Muli Magriso, two young chefs from Onza, located in the heart of Jaffa’s flea market, my curiosity was piqued. Onza is the product of a Turkish-Arab experiment in which the two chefs invested hours perfecting authentically prepared food from traditional Ottoman recipes. Darhani and Magriso’s newest project is an assortment of unique Jewish Turkish desserts, each of which comes with its own story.The chefs met with a number of women who made aliya from Turkey and created these special nostalgic delicacies with their help.The women spoke about their families, the Jewish community of Turkey, and the rich Ottoman Jewish cuisine. A large number of Jews who escaped the Spanish Inquisition made their way to Turkey and preserved their traditional Sephardi recipes. Darhani and Magriso took these recipes and gave them a modern twist.Below, you’ll find four samples from Onza’s new dessert menu.The first is tres leches (three milks cake); the second is kabak tatlısı tarifi (candied pumpkin); the third is sutlac (rice pudding), and the last is tulumba (honey dough).Translated by Hannah Hochner.Kabak tatlısı tarifi (candied pumpkin) Levana Magriso, chef Muli’s mother, serves Kabak Tatlısı Tarifi and says that this dish is considered one of the nicest Turkish desserts that hosts can serve their guests. It’s often prepared with pistachios and kaymak, a creamy dairy product, which she prepares herself from mascarpone cheese.This dish is best prepared a day ahead of time.Makes 8-10 servings 1 kg. pumpkin, clean of fibers, seeds and rind, cut into 4 cm. x 4 cm. cubes 500 gr. sugar 1 anise star 6 fennel seeds 6 coriander seeds Mascarpone cream: 200 gr. mascarpone cheese 50 ml. sweet cream Serving suggestion: ½ cup crushed pistachios In a large pot, add the pumpkin cubes and spread them out in a single layer with the sugar and spices. Place in the fridge and let it sit overnight, which will give the pumpkin time to release lots of liquid. The next day, place the pot over a medium/low flame and cook for about an hour until it’s soft. Store in the fridge until serving.To make the cream, add all the ingredients to a bowl and blend on medium speed with an electric mixer until cream is smooth.Place the pumpkin cubes on a serving dish and put a dollop of cream on top of each one. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios.
Tres leches (three milks cake) The following recipe comes from the kitchen of Zelda Golerstein and is a popular Jewish delicacy eaten in Turkey on holidays that made its way from Spain. This recipe calls for three types of dairy products: milk, condensed milk and sweet cream.Use a 30cm x 30cm pan.Dough: 5 eggs 200 gr. sugar 5 gr. powdered sugar Granules from 1 vanilla bean 220 gr. white flour, sifted 40 gr. durum flour 100 ml. oil Milk sauce: 600 ml. cream 40 gr. powdered milk Caramel toffee: 100 gr. sugar 200 gr. cream Beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer and add vanilla until light and creamy. Fold in white flour and baking powder a little bit at a time. Add the durum flower.Slowly add the oil and mix well.Grease a pan with butter and pour in the batter. Flatten batter and bake in an oven preheated to 170º for 30 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cake in the oven for another 20 minutes.To make the milk sauce, pour the cream into a pot and add the powdered milk. Stir until mixed well.Cook over medium flame and bring to a boil.Take the cake out of the oven, poke holes in it with a toothpick or the tines of a fork and then pour the cream over the cake.To prepare the caramel, pour the sugar into a medium- sized pot and melt until it turns an amber color.Pour the cream into the pot on top of the caramel, but don’t stir it. After the cream has been absorbed into the caramel, you can stir it with a wooden spoon until it’s the consistency of smooth toffee.After the sauce has been absorbed into the cake, spread a layer of caramel on top. Let cool and cut into pieces and serve. Store in the fridge.
Sutlac (rice pudding) This sutlac recipe hails from Levana Levenstein, who serves it with aromatic geranium water. At first glance, it appears similar to malabi, but it is more solid. This is a recipe that traveled with Jews who escaped the wrath of the Inquisition in Spain and made their way to Turkey.It used to be called arroz con leche (rice with milk) in Spanish. After reaching Turkey, the recipe was adjusted to take advantage of local raw materials, such as condensed milk, cinnamon and lemon peel. At Onza, sutlac is served with halva caramel and salty caramel ice cream.Makes 15 servings 2 liters hot milk 1 vanilla bean, halved and emptied 200 gr. sugar 300 gr. round risotto rice For halva crumble: 500 gr. flour 1 tsp baking powder 250 gr. almond powder 500 gr. cold butter, cut into cubes 400 gr. sugar 300 gr. raw tehina Serving suggestion: Vanilla ice cream or 1 cup halva slivers Directions: Pour the milk into a large pot. Add the vanilla and sugar and mix. Bring to a boil. Pour the rice into a nonstick pot and heat over low flame. Stir. Pour milk mixture over rice slowly while mixing. Keep mixing as pudding thickens.Keep checking the thickness by putting a cold spoon into pudding. When the pudding starts sticking to the spoon, you’ll know it’s done. Pour into individual bowls and refrigerate.Blend the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the tehina and mix. Add the baking powder, almond powder and flour and mix on low speed until well mixed. Pour onto a lined baking tray and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.Bake in an oven preheated to 150º for 30 minutes.Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes.Assemble the crumble ingredients in a bowl and mix with your fingers until crumbly. Just before serving, sprinkle the crumble on top of pudding. (You can store leftover crumble in your fridge or freezer for future use.) Serve sutlac with a scoop of ice cream or halva slivers.
Tulumba (fried honey dough) This recipe has been passed down for generations in Corinne Mishli’s family. Tulumba is dough that was rolled into an oval shape, fried, and then dipped in syrup. It’s eaten together with kaymak, a creamy dairy product.Makes 30 pieces Dough:40 gr. butter 40 gr. sugar 400 ml. water 500 gr. white flour 3 eggs 60 gr. durum flour 40 gr. cornflour Syrup: 500 gr. sugar 500 ml. water Juice from 1 lemon 2-3 drops rose water Topping: ½ cup powdered sugar Oil for deep frying To prepare syrup, boil the water, sugar and lemon in a pot over a low flame and cook for 10 minutes. Add the rose water and cook until the syrup thickens.To prepare the dough, heat up the butter, sugar and water in a pot until everything has dissolved. Add the white flour and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.Remove from flame and let cool.Pour the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook and gradually add the eggs. Add the cornflour and durum flour while mixing slowly until smooth.Transfer dough to an icing bag with a flat or star tip. Heat a frying pan with oil and carefully drop the dough pieces into the hot oil by squeezing the dough out of the icing bag. Each piece should be around 3-4 cm long. Fry them until they're golden brown and then remove from pan and place on paper towels.Place the fried pieces in the syrup and let them soak for five minutes. Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with a cup of steaming tea.