If you know me at all, you are probably aware that I have severe problems when it comes to baking, but this Sunday is a little Jewish festival called Purim and I couldn’t stop myself from attempting to make these triangular, goodness filled little hamentaschen (Ha-min-tash-en).
The story of Purim takes place way back in Persian times (I think) where a bad man (Haman) wanted to kill the Jews (seems like a lot of stories have this central theme). To cut a long story short, the good guys (Mordechai and Queen Ester) prevented this from happening, resulting in Haman getting killed. And the Jews, naturally, rejoiced (by eating and drinking). The real meaning is about seeing the hidden miracles of how God saved us from being killed (I think). It’s a really fun holiday where we eat, drink and dress up (kind of like Jewish Halloween). Here’s a video describing the Purim Story in song, by a group called the Maccabeats:
These cookies (I say cookies because mine were not quite bread, not quite biscuit-like) and folded to look like triangles and can be filled with almost anything you like! I’d never made them before, and was relatively nervous. I wanted a tried and tested recipe, so my American/Israeli friend got her mom to send us hers. I haven’t met her mom, but I have only heard about her incredible baking skills (I even got to taste some of her cookies when my friend came back from a visit home).
The recipe is as follows:
- 1 cup of flour
- 4 cups of flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup butter or margerine, softened (I kinda melted it a bit)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup of orange juice
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- whatever fillings you want!
This is what you do:
- Mix sugar, flour, baking powder and salt together and then work into the butter/marge until it crumbs. Beat eggs, orange juice and vanilla in a separate bowl, and then add it to the flour mixture.
- Mix well until it forms a dough and then put in the fridge to chill for a couple hours (the dough gets soft again very quickly, so I kept putting the dough I wasn’t working with back in the fridge).
- Roll out the dough and cut into circles, the bigger the circle, the bigger the hamentaschen of course.
- Put a dollop of filling in the centre and fold in the 3 sides to form triangles.
- Bake at 200 degrees for 12 minutes.
Cutting and filling. My hamentaschen were filled with a mix of chocolate, white chocolate & cranberries, poppy seed (Greg’s favourite), peanut butter & chocolate🙂
I actually had a really good time making these, and had Greg helping me in the kitchen until very late at night (apron, and all!). They came out delicious (I think. I gave to my team and they thought they were yummy too), even though a lot of them split. A tip I read online – fold, don’t pinch the corner, I did that and some still split. Oh well. The chocolate chips also didn’t melt, so I was told next time to use chocolate spread. I’ll just have to give it a go next year🙂