In honor of Purim today, I decided to whip up a batch of hamantaschen, the traditional celebratory treat. For those unfamiliar with the occasion, Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction (Thank you, Wikipedia). For me, it’s another great excuse to bake.
While the theme of most Jewish holidays is pain and suffering (hence Jewish guilt…), this is one occasion when we get to observe in a way that doesn’t involve fasting or eliminating food groups.
Growing up, I considered Purim to be a Jewish Halloween. We would dress up as characters from the story, wear masks, march in a parade and shake loud noise makers known as groggers upon hearing the name ‘Haman’, the villain of the story. Instead of going door to door and asking for candy, we eat hamantaschen.
These triangular shaped, fruit filled pockets are meant to represent Haman’s hat that had three corners. (Basically the wicked witch of the holiday)
I recall memories dating back to my nursery school days when my mother came into my classroom and helped my friends and I form our own. She put a spin on the traditional recipe, and had us fill ours with chocolate and peanut butter chips instead of the traditional raspberry, apricot, date, poppy seed and prune preserves.
The exterior is much like a butter cookie so it goes with just about anything. I decided to take a note from my mother and get a little creative myself. Since these are reminiscent of my childhood, I paired them with another great comfort from growing up: peanut butter and jelly.
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
Beat in butter and eggs.
Mix until dough forms.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness.
Cut out 3 inch circles using a cookie cutter or drinking glass.
Stir together equal parts raspberry preserves and peanut butter.
Place about 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle.
Using your pointer and thumb, fold dough over filling into a triangle. Do not pinch. Bake on parchment paper for 12-15 minutes.