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Making Of Elegant Isfunja ("sponge")

This is an excerpt from An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook
(Andalusia, 13th c. - Charles Perry, trans.)
The original source can be found at David Friedman's website

Making of Elegant Isfunja ("Sponge"). You take clear and clean semolina and knead it with lukewarm water and yeast and knead again. When it has risen, turn the dough, knead fine and moisten with water, little by little, so that it becomes like tar after the second kneading, until it becomes leavened or is nearly risen. Take a small new jug, wet it in water and then in clarified butter or fresh oil until it is soaked. Then take a fat reed. Cut off a length to reach to the bottom of the pot. Grease the reed with oil and put the lid on the pot and seal (the lid to the pot) with clay with the reed inside, and put it in the oven with bread, and let it be in the middle of the bread. When the bread is done, know that it (the "sponge") is also ready. Take it out, remove the clay and take out the reed. Take fresh or clarified butter and honey. Heat them and pour them into the pot in the place where you removed the reed and leave it until the "sponge" soaks it up. When it has absorbed it, add butter or honey until it soaks up more. Then break the pot away from it, put it on a platter and cut it as you would cut watermelon. Chop almonds and walnuts and pine nuts and pistachios and lump white sugar and sprinkle it over it ...[about two words missing]... with cinnamon, Chinese cinnamon or the like, if God wishes.


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