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Sephardic Recipes from the Holocaust Survivor Cookbook

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Sephardic Recipes from the Holocaust Survivor Cookbook

No Comments 25 November 2011



To All of my Jewish hostesses,
Please support Joanne Caras’s effort to commemorate the lives of the  millions of “Jewish Hostesses” of the holocaust. Let’s all try to make some of these recipes so that their memories still live on within our  own families and on our dining room tables. When you make one of these dishes, make sure you tell your families the story of survivors behind it, so that your kids may continue on with the recipe and tell the story on their own tables. I know that the Greek Bouzekitas recipe below sounds extremely close to the Syrian version of meat samboosak, and I am excited to try it for a  Shabbat lunch appetizer.

Buy this cookbook as a Hanuka gift!!

Thanks for reading!  Marlene

“Dear Marlene

 I would be honored to have you write about my book HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR COOKBOOK: COLLECTED FROM AROUND THE WORLD
 My book, which was first published in October, 2007, is now on it eighth printing.
Here are some facts that you might find interesting about my book:
  • All of the profits from the sale of the Holocaust Survivor Cookbook go to support Jewish groups and charities. 
  • To date we have raised over a half million dollars for a variety of groups who use our cookbook as a fundraiser.
  • My families donates all of our profits to the Carmei Ha’ir Soup Kitchen in Jerusalem, which feeds over 500 poor Israelis every day, many of whom are Survivors themselves.  To date we have given them over $140,000.
  • Our cookbook is being sold in the US Holocaust Museum in Washington,DC, where it is their number one best selling hardback.
  • Our book was recommended by Yad Vashem to Holocaust Educators around the world.
  • It is now being used in public schools to teach tolerance and Holocaust studies to students in middle and high schools.
  • The cookbook took 2 1/2 years to complete.
  • Our cookbook contains 129 stories of survival, over 250 kosher family recipes, and photos from the wartime and more recent family photos.
  • Our stories were collected from all over the world, including, Israel, South Africa, Europe, Canada, South America, Asia, and over 20 US states.
  • I have given over 150 speeches to groups all over the world about the cookbook. Every time I mention how some of the recipes call for “a little of this and a bissel of that” the women in the audience smile and tell me how their mother or grandmother used to cook the same way.
  • This is a world mitzvah project and our goal is that 6 million Holocaust Survivor Cookbook will go into the world.
Thanks! Joanne Caras 
The following recipe  and story was submitted by Jeanette Carasso Katsen  Carasso, daughter of a Greek Jewish survivor of the Holocaust:
Daniel Carasso was born in Salonika, Greece in 1912.  When the Nazis entered Greece in 1942 he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. He spent three years there imprisoned, digging tunnels for the Germans every day, eating one piece of bread and soup made from the peels of potatoes that the Germans had eaten.

 He was finally liberated in 1945. A man of a large frame, he weighed only 100 pounds.

When the Americans found him he was unconscious and very close to death.

“When I opened my eyes I saw an American nurse feeding me soup. I don’t remember anything from the three days before that.”

 In 1979 Daniel went back to Auschwitz to face the memories of his past.  He started as a tourist but when the Polish tour guide learned of his past she asked him to conduct the tour.

 He led the tourists, all Greek gentiles, into the old gas chambers at Auschwitz and described how the Nazis lured their victims into the gas chambers, which they disguised as showers. They even gave each person soap and a towel.

 Mrs. Carasso, herself a survivor, remembers her husband’s explanation well.  “My husband kept talking but they were all crying. And I had to leave because I couldn’t listen to it again.”

Rena and Daniel

Mommy’s Ravani:

  • 2 sticks sweet butter
  • 6 eggs
  • water glass of flour  (I think she means CUP…this is from her original recipe book)
  • 1 glass farina (dry cereal)
  • 1 glass sugar
  • 1 glass milk
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

 Beat the eggs, and sugar, warm the milk and melt the butter and add them to the beaten eggs.  Add the vanilla and slowly add the mixed flour, farina, baking powder and baking soda.

  1.  Bake in 350 degrees in a greased pan for 35 minutes or until the top of the pan becomes light brown. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup.
  2. Add immediately the syrup while the ravani is still in the oven 

Syrup:  Boil 2 cups of sugar and 1 1/2  cups of water.  Remove from heat.  Add a few drops of lemon juice.  Pour the syrup over the hot ravani.  Let her cool off. Cut in square pieces.


 Dough                                                 Filling

 ½ cup oil                                             2 cups chopped walnuts

1 cup water                                         ¾ cups sugar

½ tsp.salt                                             1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

                                                            ½ tsp. cloves

                                                            4-6 unsalted crumbled crackers

                                                            1 ½ TBSP. homey

  1.  Boil the oil, water, and salt for 5 minutes stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and let it cool off.  Add little by little flour as much as you need for a dough not too soft or too hard either. Leave aside for ½ to 1 hour.
  2.  Mix all of the ingredients for the filling together and if the mixture is too dry add a couple of drops of water.
  3. Take the dough and cut into small pieces about the size of a walnut. Roll them into small 3 inch circles.  Fill each one with a teaspoon of the filling mixture and fold them up.
  4.  Bake in greased pan at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until they get golden brown..
  5.  Prepare the syrup: 
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • Few drops lemon juice
  1. Boil sugar and water for 5-8 minutes.
  2.  Remove from heat and add the lemon juice.
  3.  As soon as you take them out of the oven poke them on both sides with a fork and dip them into the syrup immediately.



 Dough :                                               Filling: 

2 cups flour                                         ½ lb. ground beef

3 oz. oil                                               1 medium onion

1 pinch of salt                                     1 TBSP. oil

                                                               2 medium sized potatoes

                                                              1 egg

                                                              ½ tsp. salt

                                                            ¼ tsp. pepper


  1. In a pan put the flour, oil and salt, rubbing for a few seconds with your hands.  Add water as much as you need to make dough not too soft or too hard. Let it stand for 1 hour.
  2.  In a frying pan put tablespoon of oil and one chopped onion. Fry until it gets light brown. Add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until all of the blood is absorbed.  Remove from heat, and the salt and pepper, and let it cool off.  Add the 2 eggs and mix it all together.
  3.  Take the dough and cut into small walnut sized pieces and with a roller open round sheets (size 4-6 inches).  Fill them with the mixture and fold like half moons. Press your finger on the sides to enclose the filling and trim it.
  4.  Bake on greased cookie sheet for 35-40 minutes at 450 degrees. 

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