I first learned how to make hamentaschen with my grandmother, who based all her measurements on empty yartzeit (memorial) candle holders. Three glasses of flour, one of sugar and so on. Thankfully I don’t have memorial candles on hand these days, so I make use of proper measuring cups when baking.
But that’s not all that’s changed. Perhaps it is the globalization of kosher food that has inspired a generation of bakers that are looking for something new, or perhaps it is my inner middle child that likes to shake things up and make people question:
‘A hamantasch with olives and pepper? Goat cheese and pears? Is it possible?’ That is after all the point of tradition, isn’t it? A bit of change might awaken the inner child and get us to explore the origin of the tradition and how it has evolved. According to Shmil Holland, a food historian and restaurateur in Israel, we first heard about a pastry called montash in 16th century Germany where mohn meant poppy seeds and tasch meant a pocket. When the Jews left Germany for Eastern Europe in the late middle ages they took the poppy seed parcels with them and made adaptations of the original version of the recipe for hamantaschen, making them the most popular Purim cookie to this day.
In Hebrew the triangular cookies are called oznei Haman (literally translated; ears of Haman), perhaps because Haman’s ears drooped into
a triangular fold, symptomatic of the devastation over his demise. A well known reason for the triangular shaped cookies is Haman’s famous
triangular shaped hat. Poppy seeds are a traditional hamantaschen filling, as well as fruit jams and other sweets.
Try these new options for a little surprise this Purim.
Roasted Pepper & Olive Hamantaschen
Hamantaschen Filled with Chocolate Cream
To see these recipes order the 2012 late Winter/Purim Issue HERE
Photography by: Sasha Gitin
Place a copy of the purim issue in your Shalach Manos, to give your friends and family an unforgettable and meaningful Purim basket – Email Support@joyofkosher.com for Bulk Orders and special rates.
As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine Purim 2012 – Subscribe Now.