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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:
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2-2½ cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.
- Add 1 cup of flour and the baking powder. Mix.
- Add the remaining flour until the dough forms a soft, but not sticky ball.
- Roll out the dough and cut out circles.
- Put a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle.
- Gently fold the sides and pinch shut tightly.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes on 350°F.
Yields: 20 Hamantaschen
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
- Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside.
- 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.
- Pour half the mixture into a cup or small bowl.
- Very slowly drizzle the hot mixture from the cup/bowl into the beaten egg, whisking constantly.
- Now slowly pour the egg mixture back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly.
- Simmer the mixture for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from fire.
- 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!Published in