Have you ever heard of Hamantaschen? It is a Jewish pastry that is part of the Purim festivities. It is a tender, crumbly, and buttery-tasting cookie shaped in a triangle and has a filling. I never knew about these cookies until about 3 years ago when my husband and I started to go to D.Z. Akins, our town’s Jewish-style deli. My husband especially likes that place when he is craving for Matzo ball soup and a good corned beef sandwich. I really like their barley soup. Their bakery is really good too! Their hamantaschen are very yummy! I guess that when I heard that Purim is this weekend, I got a sudden craving for Hamantaschen. So I made some!
This cookie/pastry is eaten to celebrate the victory against Haman, a royal advisor who had an anti-semitic plan. The story of Queen Esther and the background of Purim is very interesting one. Here’s a summary of it if you are interested: http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday9.htm. Hamantaschen or Oznei Haman, translate to “Haman’s Pockets” or “Haman’s ears” as it is said that the pastry is modeled after Haman’s hat or Haman’s ears.
The traditional fillings are poppy-seed or fruit-based such as prune, but nowadays many fillings are used like Nutella! Along with an apple butter filling, that’s what I used this time. Tip: I found that the Nutella was a little hard to spread on the pastry so I dipped a butter knife (or use a spatula) in water so that I could smooth it out. This helps so the filling doesn’t ooze out from the hole during baking.
I used The Shiksa’s recipe and tips for perfect Hamentaschen. I didn’t fully do the “windmill” folding technique, which ensures perfectly shaped hamantaschen, but I am glad that the cookies didin’t fall apart as can often happen! Also, I followed The Shiksa’s dairy-free dough for the most part, but I used half whole-wheat pastry flour and half all-purpose flour. It turned out good! The dough was really easy to work with and not as fragile, but still gave you a nice crust. My husband said that these cookies reminded him of fig newtons. However, some people don’t like them soft and prefer crunchier ones. I guess I like either 🙂 You can bake them longer to make them crunchy.
I learned that if you pinch the ends, the pastry will more often fall apart, so you must fold the pastry to prevent that.
For exceptional tutorials and recipes for hamantaschen-making, go to The Shiksa blog!
Many people say that Purim is similar to Mardi Gras as it is full of parties, masquerading, but also giving gifts. In general, it is a holiday to eat, drink and be merry!
Happy Purim to all of you celebrating!
Even if you are not Jewish, but have a Jewish bakery in town, try to get your hands on some hamantaschen or…make some! 😀
- It’s hamantaschen time. You all need my latke recipe. (emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com)
- 32 Crazy Hamantaschen For Purim (joannegreco.wordpress.com)
- New Purim ‘fill’-osopohy: cheese, chili and mint (timesofisrael.com)
- Chag Semach! (laughcooklove.wordpress.com)