It’s Hamantaschen Time!
Happy Purim to all that celebrate!
To those of you who don’t…this is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. I have fond memories of dressing up like Esther and twirling my gagar in Temple to drown out the sound of the evil Haman’s name!
If you don’t know much about Purim – the short and sweet of it is this. Esther was the most beautiful woman in the land and she had been raised by her Uncle Mordecai. King Ahasuerus gets plastered one night and orders his wife Vashti to show her beauty off to everyone by wearing nothing but her crown. She refuses and Ahasuerus decides to find a new wife. He sees Esther and loves her above everyone else, but what she is keeping secret from him is that she is a Jew. Now enter Haman…he’s appointed the King’s advisor and there is some back story between him and Mordecai but basically, they hate each other. Mordecai refuses to bow to Haman one day and Haman vows to get even. He finds out that Mordecai is a Jew and decides that not only should Mordecai die…but all Jews should as well. Insert some additional back story here and the end result is that Esther fasts for three days in preparation for an audience with the King wherein she tells him of Haman’s plot to kill her people. The King orders Haman to hang on the very gallows he had built for Mordecai instead.
That’s the super short and sweet version, but you get the idea! “Hamantaschen” is a Yiddish word meaning “Haman’s pockets.” One explanation for the triangular shape of these pastries is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. An alternative explanation is that the three corners represent Queen Esther’s strength and the founders of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
However you define it…these are some tasty treats!
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup white sugar (or 1/2 cup Splenda Sugar Blend)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 orange, zested
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Your choice of filling: apricot, cherry, raspberry, fig, prune, etc.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Sift flour and baking powder together in a large bowl. Stir in the egg mixture, kneading with hands until the dough comes together.
Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut circles out using a cookie cutter or the rim of a drinking glass.
Place a tablespoon of the filling in the center of the cookie.
Pinch the edges firmly together to create a triangle, leaving the center open to expose the filling. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.