Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hamantaschen and the Feast of Purim


Tomorrow is the Feast of Purim.
It  is not a feast that I have ever celebrated, since it is primarily a Jewish Feast, but the story of  its origin  is recorded in the bible  in the book of Esther.
It is a feast of joy and celebration for the salvation of the Jews who had been condemned to die by order of King Ahazuerus.   The plot to destroy the Jews was contrived by their arch enemy Haman who hated Mordicai , the uncle who raised Esther,  the lovely maiden that won the heart of  Ahazuerus and became his queen.
Queen Esther is the heroine of the story.  It is through her that the Jews in the kingdom are spared and not only spared but honoured !
When Esther fears for her own life in daring to intercede for her people,  Mordecai's encouraging words to Esther  are well known  .. "Who knows if you have come to the Kingdom  for such a time as this?"  

The Feast of Purim has fun traditions associated with it.   The story of Esther is always read, with encouraged participation of  the children who are urged  to shout and boo loudly, even stamping their feet whenever the name of evil Haman is mentioned in  the story .  
Gifts are exchanged and special food is served.

One of the traditional foods are Hamantaschen (Haman pockets)  that are not unlike our Mennonite Perschki.  They are really very good !

I found some recipes for Hamantaschen  and adapted a recipe to be gluten free.
They are tasty little pastries and the fillings varied -- you can use preserves, (apricot is especially good)  pie fillings , and other fillings made from raisins,  figs or dates or poppy seed or dried fruit.   (google makes it easy to find  Hamantaschen fillings options/recipes)

In the photos above,  I used a raisin filling and cherry pie filling.  I have loved all the fillings I have tried.

Hamantaschen - Gluten Free

  • 2/3 cup butter 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 lg egg
  • 1/4 cup orange juice 
  • 1/3 cup millet flour
  • 1/3 cup white corn flour (or rice or millet flour) 
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour 
  • 1/3 cup white bean flour (or chick pea flour) 
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • desires fillings 
  • sweet rice flour (for handling) 
  1. Blend butter and sugar in mixer, add egg and orange juice
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together and add to liquids - blending well on low speed. 
  3. Turn dough out on dusted surface and work in enough sweet rice flour to make dough not sticky. (not more than 1/4 cup sweet rice flour) 
  4. Chill dough over night or for several hours. 
  5. Divide dough in two or three portions. 
  6. Roll out as thin as possible -  using sweet rice flour to keep dough from sticking to roller. 
  7. Cut into 3" circles using lg cookie cutter or a small bowl.  
  8. Place 1 tsp of filling in centre of dough and fold up on three sides of circle -- see diagram below. If the sides aren't each tucked behind another then they will open up in the oven. 



  9. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes

TIPS  --   Though the dough is soft it is surprisingly easy to handle, until it comes to the folding of the circles over the filling  but I found that if I laid the dough circles on a tray and returned them to chill in the fridge for a few minutes the folding of them was super easy.  Also if you need help lifting circles from rolling surface, dip knife in sweet rice flour and run under the dough circle.
         --  This dough keeps very well in fridge for a couple of weeks -  the baked pastries also keep for several days on the counter.  They also freeze well.

2 comments:

  1. Loved reading about this Jewish Feast, Julie. The pockets look delicious.

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  2. This is a great lesson on a very interesting Jewish tradition. I love how you fold the Hamantachen - they look delicious and it's so great that you have created this gluten-free recipe for them! Thanks for sharing this Julie.

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