A Neat Sweet for a Holiday Treat—Getting Ready for Purim!

By Jamie B. Tue, March 7, 2017
Hamantaschen are a delicious part of the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Hamantaschen are a delicious part of the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Use traditional fruit fillings, or get creative!
Use traditional fruit fillings, or get creative!

by Jamie Bowers, Culinary Literacy Center and Julie Berger, Free Library Foundation

Purim Is Coming!
The Jewish holiday of Purim, celebrating the triumph of the Jewish people over an evil ruler, begins Saturday night. It is considered a minor holiday, but it is MAJOR fun; kids and adults alike dress up in costumes to hear the story of Purim chanted and everyone delights in Hamantaschen, a sweet triangular treat.

On Purim, Jewish communities read the Book of Esther, which tells the story of Queen Esther, whose husband, King Achashverosh (say that three times fast!), did not know she was Jewish. When his evil advisor Haman planned to kill all the Jews in the Persian empire, Esther’s uncle Mordecai convinced her to speak to the king, thereby saving the Jewish people and removing Haman from power. In commemoration of this story of good overcoming evil, Purim is one of the most joyous—and wacky!—holidays in the Jewish calendar.

And hamantaschen (named for the evil Haman, in a dig at his ears, apparently) are one of the most joyous parts of the holiday! The Culinary Literacy Center (CLC) is happy to share a favorite hamantaschan recipe—with an added twist. Traditional hamantaschen are filled with a poppy seed filling or fruit preserves. But as Purim calls for reversals and zaniness, so too can it be extra fun to add in some sweet creativity!

Use the dough recipe below and fillings of your choice! Try peanut butter and chocolate chip, mint chocolate (using Andes mints), black-and-white (with regular and white-chocolate chips), peanut butter and jelly, or M&M-filled! Or choose a favorite traditional filling: poppy seed, fig, date, apricot, strawberry, or prune.
 

Make Your Own Hamantashen!
Jewish Holidays All Year Round includes kid-friendly recipes, crafts, and activities for celebrating each holiday. Here’s a recipe for hamantashen that families can make together, which has been adapted from the recipe on page 53.

Ingredients:

  • ½ pound butter (two sticks), melted
  • 8 teaspoons of sugar
  • 3¼ cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

  1. Cream the butter and sugar.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter–sugar mixture. Mix well.
  3. Add eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Knead until dough forms a ball; if time, chill the dough.
  4. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin.
  5. Using a drinking glass as a cookie cutter, cut out circles.
  6. Place a teaspoon of filling into each circle. Form a triangle by pulling the edges up and in and pinching the edges together.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool cookies on racks.
     

Purim Stories to Share with Your Family
The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale by Eric A. Kimmel
Holiday House, 2011

Eric Kimmel puts the Persian queen at the center of the holiday tale as he tells the story of how Esther outsmarted the wicked advisor Haman and saved her people. Full of vibrant golds and expressive reds, Jill Weber’s illustrations really make The Story of Esther shine. Esther’s wit, Mordecai’s courage, and Haman’s rage come to life through her playful, color-filled paintings.
   

 

 

Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale by Barbara Diamond Goldin
Marshall Cavendish Children, 2010

Cakes and Miracles is a touching story of a blind boy who dreams of helping his widowed mother bake hamantashen to sell. The story was originally published in 1991, but this 2010 edition features new illustrations by Jaime Zollars and a shortened, updated text. Follow the soft, warm illustrations and find out if Hershel’s dream comes true!


Comments

I like everything about this article including the cool recipe and the featured books.
Lisa-Jane - Philadelphia Fri, March 10, 2017
I LOVE Hamantachen! Thank you for posting this recipe- can't wait to try it out!
Juanita Vega DeJoseph - East Mt. Airy Fri, March 10, 2017
This recipe doesn't give you the yield so I don't know how healthy it is. It seems like an awful amount of butter. I love it and hate it at the same time. How heart healthy is this recipe? I don't want to placate my palate and satiate my arteries.
Juanda Fri, March 10, 2017

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