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Purim is a holiday that commemorates how Queen Esther (the beautiful woman of every story)  saved her people’s (The Jews) toucheses (tushes, bums, butts) from Haman (the bad guy). Haman was Persian and well, filthy rich. When he was appointed Prime Minister, Esther’s cousin Mordecai refused to give him respect- for religious
reasons of course (this is no telenovela, we are talking about an ancient story here). Haman, the rich man he was, showed off his wealth. He wore a big medallion on his neck that had a picture of an idol, and Mordecai was scared people would think he was bowing to the idol too- a big no, no for Jews (they are forbidden to worship Idols).

Haman, was furious- so furious, he wanted to rid the Jews all together. When Esther and Mordecai learned of the plot to kill them plus all the other Jews in Persia, Esther told on Haman to her husband, the King Achashverosh. Pretty bold of her, since with the King you didn’t approach without an invitation, even if its your husband (think it’s like you or me trying to walk the Red Carpet on Oscar night). Well, after a banquet, some soul-searching, and finding out Esther was really Jewish- Achashverosh reconsidered.

Which brings me to the triangle cookie called Hamentash, or Hamentashen when you have a bag full. As you might notice these Jewish pastries are named after Haman, the villan of Purim. Hamantashen symbolizes the Jew’s victory and thus resembles “Haman’s ear.” But, who has ears shaped like triangles? (Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.)  Some people claimed that Haman’s ears were deformed and others try to make a connection that triangle hat he always wore covered his ears. Anyways, back to the King reconsidering the tables turned and instead of all the Jews, Haman and his ears got the axe, which comes from the old-time practice of cutting off the ears of the soon to be executed.

Pastry

  • 1/2 Cup of Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 package ( 25 grams) of active dry yeast
  • Pinch of Sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, room  temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Grated Rind of 1 Orange
  • 2 sticks of unsalted margarine, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 Jar of jam or preserves of your choice

In a small saucepan warm the orange juice over low heat. Pour into a glass measure, sprinkle package of yeast and pinch of sugar over the juice. Cover and let stand until it gets foamy. Then mix in the egg yolks and vanilla.

In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt and grated orange rind. Process for 5 seconds. Add margarine and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. With the machine running, pour in the yeast/orange juice mixture. Process until well combined. Transfer onto a lightly floured board. Knead dough briefly. Divide dough in half and form into 2 flat rounds. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Cover counter or board lightly with flour, roll out dough to an even 1/4 inch thickness. With a cookie cutter, or coup cut dough in to circles. Put jam/preserves in the center (less is more-if you put too much the hamanentashen will open and the jam will leak) . Fold the rounds from 3 points and pinch together to form a triangle. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and brush hamantashen with egg wash. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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