Submitted By David Polen
Purim has always been a special Jewish Holiday that can smultaneously be serious and somber as well as festive and joyous - and somehow it all works. While it’s often referred to as the Jewish Halloween that moniker doesn’t capture the intensity of its story and meaning. It is different from the other Jewish holidays where going to temple meant dressing up in a suit and tie and sitting quietly through the service. No, Purim is different. Dressing up on Purim meant dressing up as Mordechai, Esther, or even King Ahasuerus to hear the Purim Spiel. One of our more enjoyable aspects of Purim is making noise and shaking the gregor to drown out Haman’s name during the Megillah reading. Like all great Jewish holidays, someone, in this case, Haman, tries to destroy us and goes to great lengths to achieve his objective. Like all great Jewish holidays, we survive and in the story of Purim we got to defend ourselves and destroy our enemy. The richness of the story and the plots, sub-plots and twist made it so compelling that as I write this it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been made into a big screen picture.
Celebrating Purim is never complete until you eat Hamantashen, which are the three-pointed delicious dessert filled with jam. This is one of the recipes we've found online and used to make our own:
- 1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- About 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Assorted jams or fruit butters, or quick homemade filling (see note)
To make the dough:
1. Beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
2. Beat in the egg.
3. Blend in the juice, vanilla and salt.
4. Stir in enough of the flour to make a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
To fill and make the hamantaschen:
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Remove the dough from the fridge. If it feels too hard to roll out, let it stand at room temperature until malleable, but not too soft.
3. Flour a clean work surface. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
4. Cut rounds of dough with the edge of a drinking glass or circle cookie cutter, dipped in flour. Repeat rolling and rounding with remaining scraps of dough.
5. Place a dollop of jam on each round. Pick up the sides and pinch them together to form a triangle, leaving the jelly center exposed.
6. Line a few baking trays with parchment paper.
7. Place the hamantaschen about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.
To make a quick homemade filling, mix eight ounces of date spread with 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped nuts and zest of one lemon.
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