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the urban baker: Traditions

the urban baker

The Urban Baker is deliciously photographed blog about nourishing your family's soul through life in the kitchen. The recipes for fabulous savories and sweets are easily replicated and will inspire you.

Monday, March 9, 2009



The name hamantash, is commonly known as a reference to Haman, the villain of Purim.  They are also called "Haman's ears" or "Haman's hat".

I like holidays.  I LOVE Halloween and Thanksgiving and as I get older I appreciate, more and more, the Jewish holidays.  I was not raised religiously.  We went to Sunday school, celebrated Hannukah and always went to my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Herb's for Passover. Being the youngest of 7 grandchildren, even though I rarely found the hidden matzoh, I always seemed to get a 50 cent piece from my uncle Irv.  

 I never really understood the meaning of Purim until my oldest two boys were in Jewish pre-school.  Each holiday I would go to Children's Book World and buy one or two books relating to the specific holiday we were celebrating.  My kids still love  Queen Esther Saves her People and I still enjoy reading it with them.

With Purim around the corner, I wanted to bake for Eli's Hebrew school teacher.  I searched on line for a good hamantaschen recipe.  I found one at  I made the dough and opted to make the date filling.  I made a double batch of dough. However, when I went to make the filling, I only had enough dates in the house to make one recipe of filling.  I had a jar of really good figs, so made the second batch of filling with the figs.  

After baking the first batch with the date filling, I tasted one.  I wasn't in love with the taste of the cookie part.  The recipes calls for a lot of orange zest.  Orange zest is in both the filling and the dough.  In my opinion, way too much citrus.  If I were to make this dough again, I would omit the zest in the dough all together.  I would also cut the zest in half for the filling.

I had used up all the dough, but still had filling left over.  So I started thumbing through some of my cookbooks.  I went to Marlene Sorosky first and found what I was looking for.  I made the dough and it was really, really wet.  A texture similar to my Aunt Joyce's mandel bread recipe.  I figured I had to use the dough and I had to use the filling, I wasn't going to waste either!

After letting the dough sit in the fridge for a few hours I went to work on my second batch of "H".  This dough was not as good.  It was a little bland.  The epicurious recipe was richer and much more dense.  If I had to choose between the two, I would go with the first recipe but omit the orange zest.  

When all was said and done, I had dozens of Hamantaschen and I had to get rid of it.  Friends and neighbors came home that night to little bags of "Haman's ears" sitting on their doorsteps!



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