With Purim right around the corner, I feel like it is appropriate for me to post about one of my favorite Jewish holiday cookiesâ€”Hamentashen! A hamentashen is a triangular cookie with a filling in the center (often fruit or poppyseed).
It is funny to recognize the different stories behind the shape and symbolism of hamentashen. While I was taught in Hebrew school it represents the shape of Hamanâ€™s hat, supposedly in Israel the kids are told the cookie represents Hamanâ€™s ears. Regardless of the various hamentashen symbolisms, they all seem to reflect the anger that Jews feel toward Haman. These negative sentiments are due to his desire and attempt to destroy the Jewish population. For those who do not know the story of Purim, here is a great straightforward summary. Even if you donâ€™t check out the story, here is a significant message that we learn from the story of Purim: â€œG-d often works in ways that are not apparent, in ways that appear to be chance, coincidence or ordinary good luck.â€
Hamentashen can be made with whatever flavor you would like, but typically they are sold with fruit preservatives in the middle, such as apricot, raspberry or prune. However, Iâ€™m pretty sure that hamentashen were originally filled with poppyseeds. I have never tried that type, but I wonder if it as good as the fruit kind since I imagine it is significantly less sweeter.
Anyway, hereâ€™s a simple hamentashen recipe for you to impress yourself and others!
Unlike other recipes, for this one you make the filling firstâ€¦
Apricot Filling Ingredients
1 lb. dried apricots
1 cup honey
1 tbsp. orange rind, grated
3 tbsp. orange juice
Soak apricots overnight in water to cover. Drain, then puree. Combine with honey, orange rind and juice.
And THEN the doughâ€¦
Â½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. milk
vanilla or lemon extract
Cream butter and sugar, and add egg. Sift flour and baking powder together and add a little to creamed mixture. Add milk, then remaining flour. Mix in flavoring. Roll dough out 1/8 to Â¼ inch thick. Cut into rounds, dot each with a spoonful of filling, form into triangles, and bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes until delicately browned.
I hope that you have a chance to indulge yourself, your family and your friends and try making your own hamentashen this week. On a related note, it is customary to also celebrate Purim with alcohol, to the point of inebriation where one cannot tell the difference between Haman and Mordecai. So feel free to wash the hamentashen down with a glass of wine (or two)!
This recipe was taken from the Jewish Appleseed Foundation.