Chag Purim Sameach – Happy Purim!

My first post on this blog was during the holiday of Purim and here we are one year later making Hamantaschen again. I decided to make three of the four fillings I made last year: Cranberry-Orange, Date-Walnut and Apricot Lekvar.

My family did not have a tradition of making Hamantaschen for Purim. My German grandmother made Haman’s Ears, which was dough that was rolled out and cut into strips, fried in oil and dusted with powdered sugar. I only started making this biscuits about 12 years ago when the little old lady that used to make them for our synagogue developed dementia and couldn’t make them anymore. She was not a member of our congregation, and so we used to drive 60 miles to Birmingham to buy them from her to serve at our congregation’s Purim party. One of the congregants went to pick up the 10 dozen Hamantaschen she had ordered and the little old lady didn’ t know why she was there and hadn’t made any biscuits. So, I received a frantic phone call asking if I could make them. I said I had never tried, but how hard could they be? I found a recipe and I have been making them ever since.

This year, I wanted to make another cookie in addition to the Hamantaschen because I had to make gifts to give to our landlords, who live about 100 yards away, and our new neighbors. It is Jewish law that on Purim one must send at least one Mishloach Manot (sending gifts of food) to a friend and also send Matanot La’evyonim (gifts to the poor). You are suppose to give two different types of ready-to-eat food, each of which require a different blessing. So, you can give two different cakes or biscuits or fruits, etc or mix them up.

I was looking at an Italian blog and found a link to a recipe for biscuits that are from the Jewish Ghetto in Venice. A friend of mine who is from Venice told me that he remembers going to a bakery in the Ghetto and buying these biscuits. They are called Impade and they are filled with an almond filling and rolled in icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar). Have a look at the link below for more pictures on how to make the cookies. If you speak Italian, then you can read the entire recipe. Here is a loose translation (I did a few things differently):

Impade

Yield: About 45 biscuits

Venetian Jewish Almond Cookies

Pastry:

500g all purpose flour

275g sugar

3 small or medium eggs

125 ml corn oil

Filling:

250g whole blanched almonds

200g sugar

2 eggs

Zest of one lemon

Impade Dough

Mix the sugar and the flour together and create a well. Add the eggs and the oil and bring the flour-sugar mixture from the sides into the egg-oil mixture. Mix until you create a ball, similar to pie dough. It should be soft and elastic. Set aside and prepare the filling.

Impade Almond Filling

Grind the almonds and place in bowl. Add the sugar, lemon zest, the eggs and mix well.

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).

Rolled dough

Take 1/3 of the dough and roll into a 2cm (4/5 inch) diameter snake. Cut the snake into 5cm (2 inch) pieces and roll each one flat into a rectangle.

Rolled out and filled

Put one teaspoon of almond filling in the middle of the rectangle and bring the long sides together over the filling and pinch together into a crest.

Impade Prebaked

Then shape the dough into the shape of the letter "S".

Impade

Bake the biscuits at 200C (400F) for 5 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 180C (350F) for an additional 15 minutes.

Roll them immediately in icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) and let them cool.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2008/03/21/chag-purim-sameach-happy-purim/

Welcome to my world!

This is my first post on my first blog. I am excited to start this new blog and hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride as I show you my home that I love.

Most of this website will be about my food adventures, but I will also share the beauty of my country.

Israel is a country of contrasts. We have the mountains and forests in the North, the Mediterranean Sea on the West coast, the Dead Sea in the East, the Negev desert and the Red Sea in the South.

We are the third largest flower exporter in the world and grow some of the best produce in the world.

Flowers

I will show you how I cook with the wonderful bounty we have here.

Shuk HaCarmel

Tonight is the evening of Purim and I just returned from the reading of the story of Esther. I am making hamantaschen, which are three-cornered biscuits filled with a variety of fillings. The standards are apricot, prune and poppyseed fillings. But, I like to experiment with other fillings. My usual fillings are apricot lekvar and date-walnut filling. This year I am adding my take on mincemeat and cranberry-orange filling.

Hamantaschen Fillings

My hamantaschen recipe is from Claudia Roden’s, The Jewish Book of Food. I like this dough because it is more of a flaky pastry than the crunchy cookie ones you find in the bakery. These are more delicate.

I also like the fact that this recipe only contains 2 tablespoons of sugar. I do not add any added sugar to my fillings. I think they are sweet enough.

Hamantaschen

Hamantaschen

Yield: 20 hamentashen

Dough

250g (1-3/4 cup) flour

A pinch of salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 or 3 drops of vanilla extract

150g (5oz) unsalted butter or margarine, cut into small cubes

1 egg yolk

2-3 teaspoons milk or water, if necessary

Egg wash (1 egg + a teaspoon of water)

Mix the flour, salt sugar and vanilla extract. Add the butter or margarine and mix in with your fingers to resemble cornmeal. Mix in the egg yolk and form the dough into a ball. Try not to overwork the dough. Cover with plastic film and put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into four parts, roll one part at a time to about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick. Cut circles with a 3-inch (7-1/2 cm) round cookie or American biscuit cutter.

Hamantaschen Dough

Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the dough and pinch three sides together to form a triangle. Make sure that you pinch the ends well. Place them on a cookie sheet, preferably with a silpat liner and brush the dough with the egg wash.

Hamantaschen Jewels

Bake at 375 F (190C) for approximately 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let them cool on the tray for about 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/03/03/hello-world-2/

 

Apricot Lekvar

Yield: 2 cups

200g (2 cups) dried California (I prefer these sour apricots) or Mediterranean apricots

1/2 cup orange juice or water

Cook over low heat until very tender and most of the liquid has reduced. Cool and process in the food processor until smooth.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/03/03/hello-world-2/

 

Cranberry-Orange Filling

Yield: 2 cups

200g (2 cups) dried cranberries

100g (1 cup) golden raisins

1 medium orange, seeded, unpeeled and cut into quarters

1/2 cup water

Process the orange quarters in food processor until finely chopped.

In a saucepan, add all of the ingredients, including the chopped orange and cook on a low flame until the cranberries and raisins are tender. Cool and process to a chunky paste.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/03/03/hello-world-2/

Date-Walnut Filling

Yield: 2 cups

250g (2 cups) date filling

(you can find this a Middle Eastern store) or chopped dates that have been cooked over a low flame with water to form a paste.

200g (2 cups) walnuts

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground clove

Warm water

Place the date filling, walnuts, cinnamon and clove in the food processor and add 2 tablespoons of warm water. Mix until smooth. You can add more water, if necessary. The filling should be thick.

http://www.baronesstapuzina.com/2007/03/03/hello-world-2/

 

 

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