Reply to "COOKING Workshop Lessons and Ideas for Esther"

Traditional Recipe for "Haman's Ears" (Hamansachen)

The explanation for the recipe recounts a later Jewish legend that the cookies are shaped to resemble Haman's triangular hat. 

A much earlier tradition was that Haman, when hung by the king for his crimes, was suspended by his ears. This probably comes from a Jewish word for "shame" or "humiliation" (it sounds similar to the Jewish word for "ears"). So Haman's "shame" was associated with Haman's "ears".

Eating Haman's ears was a way to show their victory over Haman and his evil plot to kill the Jews. 

There are several recipes depending on which region of the Diaspora you were from: some are deep fried triangles or strips covered in icing sugar; others are fruit filled pastries. 

This recipe below is easy to make, and includes a great filling. The poppyseeds in the filling were a common Jewish symbol for their strength in numbers. Much like Abraham was told his descendants would be as numerous as the stars or the grains of sand, Jews reminded each other of their great nation by using poppyseeds (the Jewish people are as numerous as the seeds in a poppy). Using poppyseeds is a statement of triumph and indestructibility. Despite Haman's plans, the Jews were not obliterated. 

Also, the Jewish word for poppyseed (mohn) sounds like the last syllable in Haman's name (Hamohn).They can be found in the baked goods, spice or bulk food section of the grocery store.

For simplicity, I prepared the poppyseed filling in advance, and cooled it in the fridge. If you have many kids, you can break the class in two and have each half work on either the dough or the filling. Remember the filling needs to cool, so that part should be done first. (or do it on the first week of rotation, freeze it, and thaw for the next week's cooking class) 

The pastry is small enough for kids to work with. Brush with a little milk if the pastry is too crumbly for little fingers to mold. 

They are tasty and not too sweet. 

Ingredients

For the mohn (poppy-seed) filling
  • 1 c. (150 g) poppy seeds
  • 3/4 c. (175 ml) milk
  • 2 tbsp.honey
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 4 - 6 tbsp.raisins, dates or prunes
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp.unsalted butter

For the filling, put the poppy seeds in a pan with the milk and simmer for about 15 minutes or until thick. I used a double boiler to avoid scorching. Add the honey, sugar, raisins, and butter and cook 5 minutes more. I added more than the 4 T fruit listed in the original recipe to make the filling thicker. Use your own judgement. Add the lemon zest and juice and the butter and mix well. Let it cool.

For the Dough
  • 1 3/4 c. (250 g) flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp.sugar
  • 2-3 drops vanilla extract
  • 5 oz (150 g) unsalted butter (about 1/3 pound)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-3 tsp. milk, if necessary
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze


In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt, and sugar. Cut the butter in pieces and rub it into the flour. Mix the egg yolk and vanilla, and add to the dough. Press the dough into a soft ball. Work very briefly, adding a little milk if necessary to bind it. If you have time, wrap in plastic wrap and cool in the refrigerator. (not necessary)

Divide the dough into 4 for easier handling. Roll out each piece on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin until it is 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick. Cut into 3-inch (7 1/2 cm) rounds with a pastry cutter or rim of a cup. Take the scraps, roll out again, and cut into rounds. (Another way is to take a lump of dough a bit bigger than a walnut and to flatten the dough by pressing it in the palm of your hand.)

Place the rounds on a greased baking sheet.
Put a heaping teaspoon of filling in the centre of each round. Lift up the edges and roll inwards gently to form three sides and fold up around the filling in a thick "crust". Pinch the three corners well to hold the crust in place and prevent leaking. Leave the top open so you can see the filling in the middle. 

Brush the finished pastries with beaten egg or a little milk to turn them golden in the oven. Bake in a preheated 375 degree F (190 degree C) oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. Use a spatula to gently lift the pastries onto a cool rack or plate.

 

 


 Alternative Haman Cookie Recipe

aka Hamantaschen Cookies—about 4 dozen 2 ½ inch pastries

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 cup margarine
  1. Sift or mix well the three dry ingredients
  2. Mix eggs, margarine and juice.
  3. Add flour mix to egg mixture. If too sticky, add a little more flour and cover.
  4. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter.
  6. Put ½ tsp. filling (jam or chocolate chips) in center of circle.
  7. Shape into triangles by bringing two sides up to the center and pinching them and then bringing up third side and pinching it. Pinch dough well so the pastry will not open during baking.
  8.  Preheat oven to 350. Bake on greased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Cool on rack.

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