Baskets of Smiles
The Earth is ready to awaken from a long Winter's rest. Although
it is still cold outside, each day brings us another few minutes of light. Soon,
we will celebrate our deliverance from oppression at parties, carnivals, and by
sharing gifts of love with our friends and families. Children will help roll
dough in the kitchen, and homes all over the world will be scented with the
joyous aroma of holiday baking. Baskets will be filled by tender hands, and
delivered with smiles as sunny as Springtime.
This recipe is a simple one to prepare. Always remember that the produce of
gentle hands has a taste of sweetness which will fill the heart, as nothing else
can do. This is as true for the bakers, as it is for those who receive these
treats. The little ones who help make Hamantaschen now, will be sure to
tell their own children of a day spent making and delivering gladness. Memories
will nourish their spirits, long after the pastry is gone. Thus, will you feed
them all their days
It is time for fun, fantasy, and deliverance. We can shed those long scarves,
which we have worn around our necks like nooses, and array ourselves as kings
and queens. The world is ready to celebrate the Vernal Equinox, and we are
commanded to our own giddy revelry in honor of freedom. I have a lovely dress
from India, with swishing skirts and beads, just the thing for a little kitchen
maid to play princess. Of course, I will be back in my apron soon, but for
Purim, I shall rise from my lowly position, as did Esther, and join the court
festivities. May all of you enjoy schnapps, sweets, and silliness.
2 cups Flour
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar, plus more for rolling the dough
2/3 cup Butter
1/3-1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup of Pastry Filling
Mix the Flour and Powdered Sugar. Cut in the Butter. Pulsing in
the bowl of your food processor most easily does this, but if you don't have
one, use two knives, and keep working with them until the mixture resembles
cornmeal. Add 1/3 cup Sour Cream and mix until the dough holds together in a
ball. Depending on the humidity, you may need to use a tiny bit more, but do
remember that this is a firm dough. Divide the dough into 4 portions, roll each
into a ball, and encase in plastic wrap. Put them in the refrigerator for at
least an hour.
When you are ready to roll the dough, dust the board and rolling pin thoroughly
with Powdered Sugar, adding more as needed to prevent sticking. Roll to a bit
less than an eighth of an inch in thickness, and cut into small rounds. Place a
teaspoon of filling at the center of each round and pinch the circles into a
triangle shape, Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for about 10
minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove the Hamantaschen from the cookie sheet, with a
spatula (these are not the jawbreaker Hamantaschen you get in bakeries,
and are fragile) and allow to cool completely on waxed paper before serving. DO
NOT offer anyone a bite right from the oven. The filling will be hot enough to
P.S. My favorite filling is made by soaking 1 cup dried Apricots in Brandy to
cover, pureeing them in the blender, then stirring in 1/4 cup each Sugar and
ground toasted Walnuts.
Poppy Seed Pastry Filling (Dairy or Pareve)
There is a tradition of Dairy foods at Purim, because Esther is
said to have been a vegetarian. Most Poppy Seed fillings are Dairy, and rather
romantically made with Milk and Honey, but I will give you an alternative
ingredient choice, just in case you want to use this for a Strudel or Babka at
some other time as well.
A Bonus Use. If you would like to make Poppy Seed Muffins, substitute 1 cup of
the cooked Filling for Sugar in the basic Muffin recipe.
2 cups Poppy Seeds
3/4 cup dried Currants
1 1/2 cups Milk, Orange Juice, or Coconut Milk
1 cup Honey
1 tablespoon grated Lemon Zest
Place the Poppy Seeds in the bowl of a Food Processor, that has
been fitted with a metal blade. Pulse several times, until finely chopped, but
do not grind them to a powder. The goal is to crush them. If you don't have a
Processor, use a Mortar and Pestle.
Mix all the ingredients together in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. (Nonstick coated,
if you have one) Place over a medium-low heat, and cook, stirring constantly,
until thickened. Empty the filling into another container, and cool before
A Special Note. Soak the pan and spoon as soon as you remove the cooked Filling.
It is very sticky, and hard to clean, if allowed to harden.
Copyright 2004 Eddy Robey
2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
hosted by the Gantseh Megillah
to the recipe list.