Friday, 14 March 2014
Hamantaschen for Purim
You know it must be Purim when you walk into a Jewish bakery and the staff have all become Smurfs.
I don't know how it happened, but it seems that Purim to Jews has become what Halloween is to, er Christians? Not even sure if that's a good analogy since Halloween is a pagan thing, but I guess it's been adopted into Christmas custom. Kind of like Christmas trees.
Back on topic! I say this because as the years go by, the costumes that the Jewish community of my 'hood don become less to do with the actual story of Purim and more, well, nuts. Less Queen Esthers and King Mordecais, more zombies and lions.Mind you, the costume range for the story of Purim is pretty limited, with only a few main characters to choose from- and nobody ever wanted to be Haman (the baddie). I remember a kid in my Hebrew class once threw a massive wobbly because he had been cast as Haman in the Sunday School play. Good times.
I may have mentioned in the past that during Chinese New Year, we eat dragon's beard candy (basically slightly coarser candy floss).
During Purim, we eat Haman's Ears.
Hamantaschen- Haman's Ears, have a hideous name and often look a bit beat-up, but are so. Freaking. Delicious. A soft buttery cookie outside and a sweet, chewy filling? Awesome. It just happens to be shaped like some ugly evil dude's ear.
The most common filling is sweet poppy seed, but you can find them with all kinds of filling: apricot, date, jam, even savoury cheesy ones.
I always use the same biscuit dough from my trusty 'Jewish Cooking' book, and usually my own filling of poppy seeds and sultanas, but I couldn't find anywhere selling poppy seeds this year. So instead, I filled them with homemade almond and date paste, made with 100g almonds and 200g medjool dates. They were very, very good.
I did run out of filing though, and ended up filling the last four with strawberry jam.
And one with sprinkles, to keep Benny happy.
I also bought some poppy seed ones from Grodzinski, a famous Jewish bakery, since poppy seed is my and my dad's favourite flavour.
Rumour has it that mine taste better. =O Although major props for the rainbow sprinkles, Grodzinski!