Happy purim to those who celebrate
Happy Purim to all who celebrate. For those of you who are thinking Happy what? let me fill you in. Purim is a festival when the Jewish people celebrate being saved from persecution in the ancient Persian empire.
Haman, the king’s righthand man, had hatched a plan to eliminate all the Jews in Persia.
However, lucky for them, the king was married to the beautiful, Esther. A strong, intelligent, brave woman who rocked (yes, we’ve been around for aaaaages) who happened to be Jewish and when she learnt of Haman’s evil plan she told hubby, who sent Haman to the gallows at once.
SO now we celebrate Purim by dressing up and eating hamantaschen or Hamen’s ears (sounds scrumptious, doesn’t it?).
Though I doubt the villainous Haman’s ears would have been much fun to nibble on, these delicious delights are made of melt in your mouth dough with a variety of yummy fillings; chocolate, jam, date or poppy seed, which is what I chose.
The poppy seed filling is what I remember of hamantaschen most fondly; I just loved them!
For a kid Purim is the funnest festival. It’s a Carnival-like celebration, a Jewish Mardi Gras, a huge party filled with parades, and dress ups.
For most kids Purim was the favourite event as it was for me. In Israel EVERYONE dresses up, It’s an incredible spectacle as you walk down the streets seeing everyone dressed up with the most creative costumes.
Many moons ago, in the old days, just after the horse and cart era, my dad used to drive us to our Purim get together on his motor bike where my siblings my cousins and I would pile in to the sidecar. Yes, those were the days … I even have the photos to prove it.
This year I looked for and found a simple recipe by a very popular Israeli chef called Karin Goren. This recipe took no time to make and it’s delicious. You don’t have to use the poppy seed filling you can use chocolate or jam or anything else you fancy. For me it was nostalgia.
Every bite of this melt in your mouth cookie dough took me back to my childhood. This recipe is a must.
Before you start
Make sure you place butter in the freezer before adding to flour
Milk must be cold too.
Don’t over work the dough, when you take the dough out of the food processor there is no need to knead the dough, just bring it together and make two discs.
I chose not to garnish with icing sugar and I found that the hamantaschen needed to be a little sweeter so I added 25g of icing sugar to the dough ingredients (In total I used 125g icing sugar) I used 2 tablespoons of honey instead of one in the filling and I added another 25g of sugar to the filling as well (I used a total of 125g sugar in the filling).
420g plain flour
100g pure icing sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
200g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 -2 tablespoons milk (cold)
170g poppy seeds
3 tablespoons semolina
1 tablespoon honey
50gm crushed nuts your choice (I used a combination of walnuts and almonds)
For the dough
Cut the butter into small cubes and arrange on a small plate. Freeze for 20 minutes.
Put the dry ingredients into a large food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
Add the butter and give it a quick pulse 4-5 times until the mixture resembles large breadcrumbs or pieces the size of peas.
Add the egg and lemon zest and process for 5 seconds.
Add 1 tablespoon milk and process for 20 seconds. The dough should start coming together. (If it doesn’t then add another tablespoon of milk) Stop the food processor and remove the dough.
Put the dough on a clean surface and make 2 equal disks.
Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
While the dough is in the fridge, prepare the filling.
For the filling
Place a pot over medium–low heat. Add sugar and milk to the pot and stir until the sugar has melted.
Stir in the poppy seed, semolina and honey. Remove from the heat and add nuts, mix well to combine. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool completely.
Prepare the hamantaschen
Preheat the oven to 180C
Line a baking tray with baking paper
Remove 1 disc from the fridge and let it sit on the kitchen bench for a few minutes to soften a little. Lightly flour your work surface and your dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to ½ cm thickness. If you prefer a thicker dough, you can roll it thicker.
Using a 5cm cookie cutter or a 5cm rim of a glass, cut as many circles out of the dough as you can.
Place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of the circles. (don’t use any more than a teaspoon or the filing may leak while baking.
Pinch three edges/corner together tightly to form a triangle (see video)
Repeat with the second disc.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely and sift icing sugar on top.
Even my mum dressed up with us ( my older sister on the left and that's me on the right)
My older sister is about to get into the side cart where my cousins are squeeshing together to make room, I'm waiting for my turn to get in next
My older sister won a prize for most original costume, she went as a traffic light. I'm wearing her old little red riding hood costume, with the game she won by my feet and my younger sister is wearing my old gypsy dress up. With dad's motor bike behind us.