Eating Hats for the Holidays

 

Almost every Jewish festival has some kind of food or prepared dish associated with it: Chanukah has latkes, Sukkot has the citron and apples and honey are served at Rosh Hashanah. There are many other examples, and the foods usually have symbolism, too.

This week we celebrate Purim, a festival that honors Queen Esther’s saving the Jewish people from certain death. The wicked man in the story is Haman, who hated the Jews; his heritage was the Amalekites, a people who had been defeated by the Jews in the past, and the hatred from that experience never died. You can learn more about Purim here.

One of the best-known foods for Purim is the hamantaschen, tasty pastry treats that I learned long ago represented Haman’s hat. But in doing my research, I found several explanations for this treat and its design. If you’d like to see the list, you can go here. Also at this link are 11 different recipes for hamantaschen, but I’m listing the recipe of one of my favorites, the poppy seed hamantaschen:

Dough Ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Dough Directions

  1. Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.
  2. Add 1 cup of flour and the baking powder. Mix.
  3. Add the remaining flour until the dough forms a soft, but not sticky ball.
  4. Roll out the dough and cut out circles.
  5. Put a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle.
  6. Gently fold the sides and pinch shut tightly.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes on 350°F.

Yields: 20 Hamantaschen

Filling Ingredients

Note: Very closely based on Tori Avey’s recipe

  • ¾ cup poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil or margarine (butter for dairy – but make sure to tell people they are dairy!)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 egg

Filling Directions

  1. Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the coconut oil/butter/margarine in a small saucepan. Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar, and honey, and simmer over a low flame until the sugar is melted.
  3. Pour half the mixture into a cup or small bowl.
  4. Very slowly drizzle the hot mixture from the cup/bowl into the beaten egg, whisking constantly.
  5. Now slowly pour the egg mixture back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly.
  6. Simmer the mixture for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from fire.
  7. Whisk in the poppy seeds and refrigerate until fully cooled before using.

They also included helpful hints:

One of the most common questions I get asked this time of year, is how to make sure the hamantaschen don’t open up while baking. So, some tips:

  • Keep the dough on the thinner side.

  • Do not overfill the hamantaschen.

  • Work patiently and consistently. Don’t rush through. Take the extra 15 seconds to make sure the edges are tightly pinched.

  • Close the hamantaschen up more than you think you need to. See mine—I left a pretty small opening.

  • Be careful not to add too much flour to the dough, because that will make the dough drier and harder to seal.

Purim begins with the Fast of Esther tonight, and the holiday begins tomorrow.

Time to get out the poppy seeds and flour!

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  1. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Had some store bought ones last night . . . I know, not the same but we didn’t have a recipe . . . and now, I guess, we do.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Had some store bought ones last night . . . I know, not the same but we didn’t have a recipe . . . and now, I guess, we do.

    What did you think of them, Vance? What kind did you have?

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    That’s lovely, Susan, but … no coconut!

    • #3
  4. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Gives new significance to “I’ll eat my hat!”

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Rodin (View Comment):

    Gives new significance to “I’ll eat my hat!”

    Yes, indeed!

    • #5
  6. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    I don’t remember ever reading the story of Purim. Thanks.

    • #6
  7. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Had some store bought ones last night . . . I know, not the same but we didn’t have a recipe . . . and now, I guess, we do.

    What did you think of them, Vance? What kind did you have?

    They were OK, but again, not like freshly made. The box had some with apricot and some prune. I have to say the good thing about diversity is diversity of foods. Last week the supermarket had Polish paczki for Fat Tuesday. This week they have hamantaschen for Purim. It is like the whole world coming together to keep me fat.

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I don’t remember ever reading the story of Purim. Thanks.

    It is from the Book of Esther, Old Testament. And you’re welcome, Mark.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    This week they have hamantaschen for Purim. It is like the whole world coming together to keep me fat.

    I swear it’s a conspiracy, darn it!!

    • #9
  10. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Looks yummy and pretty – I’ve seen those at Whole Foods- now I’m hungry…

    • #10
  11. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Time for some Maccabeats.

     

     

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Time for some Maccabeats.

    I just love this group! And of course the costumes are part of the celebration. I saw Harry Potter there! And the little ones were so adorable. Thanks so much @9thdistrictneighbor! What a treat!

    • #12
  13. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I don’t remember ever reading the story of Purim. Thanks.

    It is from the Book of Esther, Old Testament. And you’re welcome, Mark.

    Yeah, I know. I am not saying that none of the Men’s Bible Studies I’ve been in ever studied the Book of Esther.

    But Susan, none of the Men’s Bible Studies I’ve been in ever studied the Book of Esther.

    No worries, you’ve filled in this gap in my spiritual development.

     

    • #13
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    I don’t remember ever reading the story of Purim. Thanks.

    It is from the Book of Esther, Old Testament. And you’re welcome, Mark.

    Yeah, I know. I am not saying that none of the Men’s Bible Studies I’ve been in ever studied the Book of Esther.

    But Susan, none of the Men’s Bible Studies I’ve been in ever studied the Book of Esther.

    No worries, you’ve filled in this gap in my spiritual development.

     

    Glad to help out! ;-)

    • #14
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    This tasty post is part of our Group Writing Series under the February 2021 Group Writing Theme: “Chef’s Surprise.” Stop by soon, our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #15
  16. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Susan Quinn: The wicked man in the story is Haman, who hated the Jews; his heritage was the Amalekites, a people who had been defeated by the Jews in the past, and the hatred from that experience never died. You can learn more about Purim here.

    I know the story of Esther and some stories involving Amalekites from the Scriptures, but was completely unaware of the Haman-Amalek connection.  The internet seems to know quite a bit about it, though. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • #16
  17. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    These sound delicious but I need the helpful hint that tells me how to keep the poppy seeds out of my teeth.

    • #17
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: The wicked man in the story is Haman, who hated the Jews; his heritage was the Amalekites, a people who had been defeated by the Jews in the past, and the hatred from that experience never died. You can learn more about Purim here.

    I know the story of Esther and some stories involving Amalekites from the Scriptures, but was completely unaware of the Haman-Amalek connection. The internet seems to know quite a bit about it, though. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    I’m so glad! It tells us a lot about holding grudges. Thanks!

    • #18
  19. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Ah so that’s what it was.  You know I live in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.  I don’t know when all the holidays come around.  There were some rambunctious young guys out in the streets last night having a bit of fun.  That explains it.  ;)

    • #19
  20. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member
    CB Toder aka Mama Toad
    @CBToderakaMamaToad

    Susan, I am a little late to the party, but I’ve brought my own party hats!

    (I made these with a recipe that includes cream cheese for the pastry and I used Chiver’s Lemon Curd for the filling. In the edge of the lower picture you can see the purple corner of one of the four I filled with blackberry jam after I ran out of the curd.)

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    CB Toder aka Mama Toad (View Comment):

    Susan, I am a little late to the party, but I’ve brought my own party hats!

    (I made these with a recipe that includes cream cheese for the pastry and I used Chiver’s Lemon Curd for the filling. In the edge of the lower picture you can see the purple corner of one of the four I filled with blackberry jam after I ran out of the curd.)

    Mama Toad, so good to see you!! That sounds lucious! I love lemon, too. Well done! 

    • #21
  22. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Boy, do I miss my Grandma Sadie’s hamantaschen.  I think my sister may have the recipe, but we have been thrown out of the family.  And I’m not much of a baker, so I will have to survive on memories.

    • #22