Savta (Grandma) Esther

Savta Esther was my husband, Roy,  grandmother. I never got to meet her but I feel that I know her. She was born in Egypt and made amazing traditional food and treats.

She was very meaningful to Roy and he loved spending time with her at her house in Kfar-Saba. He would go there almost everyday after school and pick fruits from her trees in the yard and eat the wonderful food she would make.

Esther was a mother of 7 and loved getting the whole family together on Fridays and other occasions to eat together.

I guess Roy’s love for food and preparing food started in Esthers house so many years ago. When he describes what she would make you can smell the food as if you are standing in her kitchen and your taste buds start acting as if you are about to eat something truly wonderful.

The big pot she would fry fresh garlic and oil in, and then dip big pieces of bread on top to get these amazing tasting chunks of bread- isn’t that something you really crave right now just by thinking about how crispy, flavored and yummy it was?!

I often wish I could have spent some time with her in her kitchen to see her work. Roy describes her skills in a way that makes me jealous of how easy she moved around her kitchen and how naturally it came to her to create such wonderful food.

There are some things that Roy has talked about over the years that I’ve tried to make and one of them is Maamul.

I did not grow up on Maamul so I had to look it up on the web, look through the many recipes out there and decide which one I like.

Maamul is a cookie that is round with unique decorations on the outside and filled with either nuts, dates or nuts and dates inside. You add spices to the filling – cardamom and cinnamon .

The only sugar in the cookie is the powdered sugar you sprinkle on top of the cookie.   It’s s a great energy treat as well.

For me it took a couple of trials to get it right. First the dough was to thick and not enough filling. So I played around with the filling, the spices and the dough and got to the point where Roy took a bite and I knew I got it right.

It is our favorite treat and we almost always have Maamul in our kitchen.

The kids love it when I fill the Maamul with Nutella. Their best treat it making the dough in the shape of empanadas and fill them Nutella or chunks of chocolate.

There are some recipes from Esther that I have made such as the Basbosa, a traditional Egyptian cake. I love making recipes I know Esther used to make and feeling as if I’m following in the path of a wonderful woman, who was loved by many, including my husband.


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  1. 1

    I was asked about the difference between flours:
    Cake flour is a bit more delicate than all purpose, while bread flour for example is more robust.
    Self Rising Flour has in it baking powder so if you ever use it, do not add baking powder. I personally do not like self rising as I prefer to control the amount of baking powder I use.
    Flour companies produce many types of flour but if you just want to have at home a flour to use when needed, All Purpose, the basic flour, is great to use in practically anything.
    Enjoy and Good Luck.

  2. 2

    very nice!
    I do miss savta Ester. She would be proud of your maamul.
    tons of childhood memories are from her house and cooking.
    Wish I had a time machine.

  3. 4

    Dear, I can smell now her fruit salat, i can taste the mango from the tree, I can see the “kuskus”,
    you are great!
    Roy, it’s time to make a time machine and go back to David Markus no. 4!
    Tal, I love you for all your great sensetive.
    Thank you for givving recpect to a great woman that you even didnt meat her,
    love you!!!

    • 5

      Thank you! that means the world to me that you were moved by this. I feel like I know her although I wasn’t lucky enough.
      I also vote for inventing a time machine! Even to go back for an afternoon….
      There are so many places I’d like to be- with my Nona, in Esther’s backyard, eating thin cut potatoes with my grandfather, after he made them deliciously crispy on the pan….
      Family. Being together.
      Hope we will see each other soon as well!
      Love you back!!

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