Shorashim - Hebrew for "Roots"
Shorashim - Hebrew for "Roots"

Hamentaschen (Haman's Pockets)

Sweet pastries for Purim

Hamentaschen are triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.

Hamentaschen (Haman's Pockets), or "Osnay Haman" (Haman's Ears) pastries

"Hamentaschen" is a Yiddish word literally meaning "Haman's pockets." Haman is the villain in the Purim story, which appears in the Biblical Book of Esther. See more on Purim here.

 

It is traditional for the Jewish people to eat hamantaschen on Purim as part of the celebration of the holiday, which commemorates how Jews escaped extermination by Haman.

 

One explanation for the triangular shape of these pastries is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. Another explanation is that the three corners represent Queen Esther's strength and the founders of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

 

Popular fillings for hamantaschen are fruit marmalade, cheese or poppy seeds. The poppy seeds are sometimes said to represent all the bribe money Haman collected.

 

Hamantaschen are also called "oznay Haman," which is the Hebrew for "Haman's ears" , coming from the old practice of cutting off criminals' ears before they were executed by hanging.

Making your Hamentaschen

The number of Hamentaschen this recipe makes depends on the size of your cutting tool and the thickness you roll, but a 4¼ inch cutting tool and medium rolled thickness will get 20-24 cookies from this recipe.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (smooth, not with bits )
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour – note, if you substitute wheat
    flour with white flour, you won't achieve the traditional texture for Hamentaschen!
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Various preserves, fruit butters and / or pie fillings

 

Directions:

  • Blend butter and sugar thoroughly
  • Add the egg and blend thoroughly
  • Add ornage juice  and blend thoroughly
  • Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, alternating white and wheat, blending thoroughly between each
  • Add the baking powder and cinnamon with the last half cup of flour
  • Refrigerate batter overnight or at least a few hours
  • Roll as thin as you can without getting holes in the batter (roll it between two sheets of wax paper lightly dusted with flour for best results)
  • Cut out 3 or 4 inch circles
  • Put a dollop of filling in the middle of each circle.
  • Fold up the sides to make a triangle, folding the last corner under the starting point, so that each side has a corner that folds over and a corner that folds under.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until golden brown but before the filling boils over.

Popular fillings

Traditional fillings are poppy seed and prune, but apricot, apple puree, pineapple preserves, and cherry pie filling all work well. You can also try some with Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) - it may be a bit dry that way, but if you're a chocoholic it'll be great either way!

If you are on a wheat-free diet for wheat allergies or a gluten-free diet for celiac-sprue, substitute 2 cups of buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup of milled flax seed for the white and wheat flour, you should also reduce the baking powder to 1 teaspoon.

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