It's that joyous, boisterous time of year again, and with it comes some very nice eateries. The traditional cookies for Purim are called "Hamantaschen", or "Oznei Haman" in Hebrew – Haman's ears. It is shaped triangular to remind us of the triangular shape of Haman's hat.
1 cup oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. baking powder
5 1/2 cups flour
Mix all ingredients together except for the flour. Add the flour gradually until it is all mixed in and the batter resembles a smooth dough. If the dough sticks to your palm, then add a bit more flour until it is workable. The key to nice looking hamantaschen is to cut out circles with a cookie cutter for each one. This makes your edges symmetrical and perfect looking so that each cookie comes out smooth and uniform in appearance. However, even if you don't have a cutter, they still come out nicely by just pulling off pieces of dough, rolling them into balls, and flattening them down on your working surface before filling them.
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Now comes the fun part. Traditionally, hamantaschen are filled with poppy seeds...however, ideas abound that can be both fun and colorful. There is strawberry jam, apricot jam, blueberry pie filling, pareve caramel filling, a mixture of white and black chocolate chips...just to name a few! Fill them with the fillings of your choice and simply pinch then together on one side, and then the other. Let the kids join in as well; even children as young as three can do this easily when shown how.
Place them on lined cookie sheets, spaced only slightly apart as they don't rise that much. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until they are slightly golden on top and done on the bottom. Remove from cookie trays and leave on a piece of baking paper on the counter. After they have cooled down for 5 minutes, sprinkle them well with confectionary sugar. Enjoy!
These freeze well, but will have to be sprinkled with the confectionary sugar again after they have defrosted.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
On Purim, many people serve foods that are "covered" or "hidden" since this theme of hidden Divine Providence is what runs throughout the Purim story.
Makes enough for 2 medium sized acorn squashes.
Cut off the tip of the squash and carve out the squash on the inside until you reach its hollow. Clean out the seeds and drain. Then stand up the squash on its wider end, fill it with the following meat mixture:
1 large onion, diced and sautéed
2 cloves garlic, diced and sautéed
1 large carrot, shredded
1 lb. / 1/2 kilo ground meat
1 lb. / 1/2 kilo ground turkey or chicken
3/4 cup bulgur, uncooked
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbls. mustard
3 Tbls. ketchup
Chop the onion and garlic finely, and sautee in the olive oil for 5 minutes on high. Add the shredded carrots and sautee another five minutes on medium. Turn off the heat. In a bowl, mix by hand all the ingredients, then add in the sautéed vegetables.
2 large cans tomato paste or sauce, approximately 16 oz per can.
1 1/3 Tablespoons salt
1 1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbls. white wine (preferable) OR regular vinegar
Pour this sauce over the squashes and place it in the oven, covered, to bake for an hour on 350 °F/ 180-190 °C until squash is tender. I'm sure it will turn out tasty, healthy, and delicious!
Something nice and light to enjoy for dessert to top off our Purim feast.
1/2 tsp. jello
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. orange liqueur
6 oz. orange juice concentrate
1 egg white
In a bowl, dissolve jello with a little cold water and stir. In a small saucepan, liquidy the sugar and the cup of water slowly over low heat until clear. Bring the mixture almost until the boiling point. Turn off heat.
Add the softened jello to this sugar syrup and stir well. Cool. Add orange juice concentrate and orange liqueur. Stir and freeze for 2 hours.
Beat egg white until stiff. Remove the frozen mixture from the freezer and scoop it out into a mixing bowl. Mash this with a fork until it is soft and mushy. Fold this together with the beaten egg white and return to the freezer for 4-6 hours, until firm.
Take it out from the freezer and let it soften for five minutes. Then beat with the mixer's K-hook (NOT the wire wisk egg beaters!) for a few minutes until it is the consistency of sorbet. Refreeze until serving. Serves 4.
With best wishes for a very happy Purim to one and all!