Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's Purim

...or at least it was recently. I'm not too clear on the details. But because it had been a while since I'd done anything Jewish, I happily accepted my friend Sarah's recent invitation to bake hamantaschen. Sarah lives in the Jewish house on campus, although she is not Jewish. Actually, I have two close friends who fit that description (non-Jewish Sarah who lives in the Bayit).

You probably already know the story behind hamantaschen. They're supposed to represent the tri-cornered hat that the villain of Purim, Haman, wore. I guess that by eating these tasty little hats we Jews are continually exacting our revenge on the guy. That's fine by me, because hamantaschen are really delicious, and, as I rediscovered, so much fun to make.

The cookies start with a rich dough that traditionally includes some orange juice or zest. After letting the dough rest in the fridge for a bit, you roll it out to about 1/4" thickness (please note the appropriately Jewish "rolling pin" we used):

Then cut out small circles of dough. I've always used a glass to do this:

Now get out all the jams and jellies you have lying around. Apricot has always been my filling of choice, but most any flavor will be pretty tasty:

Assemble your circles of dough on a baking sheet, and place about a teaspoon of jam in the center of each. You want to be careful not to add too much filling, or it will run over in the oven and make a sticky mess:

Then pinch the circles into triangles which encase the filling:

Bake in a 350° oven for about 24 minutes until the cookies are golden brown:

And fix yourself a plate:

Have a happy Purim! Just be sure to watch out for that Haman.

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