On Adar 14 (otherwise known as Mar. 7 and 8 on the 2012 Gregorian Calender), Jews all over the world celebrated a victory that took place thousands of years ago. In typical Jewish fashion, the holiday can be explained as follows: They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat! (The holiday is often used as a news-peg for stories about racism and other modern injustices).
But Purim is no ordinary Jewish holiday. To all you non-Jews, think of Purim as a cross between Halloween, Mardi Gras and May Day. It involves dressing up (often as characters from the story), carnivals, screaming and stomping in services, noise-making toys, and most importantly, hamantaschen.
These triangular cookies, which represent the triangular hat of Haman, the story’s villain, may not seem particularly special, but they are both delicious and fun to make. My stomach demanded I make my own.
You can make your own dough (and I have done so before), but as Marlborough leaves me short on time for such frivolities, I went to the store and bought some pie crust. Although slightly flakier than traditional hamantaschen dough, pie crust has a taste pretty accurate to the original and saves you a lot of time!
Once I had the dough, we needed to cut it into smaller circles. A coffee mug usually does the trick, although the top of an applesauce jar makes a pretty good circle as well.
After cutting the circles, we reach my favorite part of the hamantaschen-making process: choosing your toppings! Traditionally, the cookies are filled with jam or poppy seeds, but a lot of people fill them with chocolate chips. My sister has lately been experimenting with butterscotch chips. My pride and joy this year was my hamantaschen filled with mini hamantaschen! It was quite delicious as well.
Place a small amount of whatever filling you choose in the center of your circle. Remember, however much you might think you need, you probably need less. I generally use six to eight chocolate chips per cookie, and a cookie with more than ten tends to explode.
The most challenging part of the cookie-making process is the folding, but I consider myself a master. Three sides fold in to create the triangle, and a hole must be left in the center. The edges are pinched together, but the cookie must not end up shaped like a pyramid. In all honesty, the only way to ensure a perfect hamantaschen is to practice. Once folded, brush egg whites along the exposed pastry crust and bake at 400° for around 12 minutes. Once ready, cool and eat!