2016-03-16 / Voice at the Shore

Purim recipes: Poppy seeds, Hamantaschen and more


Why do Jewish people traditionally eat treats with poppy seeds on Purim? Is it just an Ashkenazi tradition, or did Queen Esther actually eat poppy seeds, as some Jews believe? Or, is there some connection between the black poppy seed and Haman’s black hat?

“We don’t know,” acknowledges Rabbi Jonathan Kremer of Beth Judah in Ventnor with a smile.

Yet the Purim Poppy Seed Cookies that his wife, Rebbetzin Ellie Kremer, traditionally makes have also brought smiles to the rabbi, his family and their guests over the years. The rebbetzin, who worked as a cook for her Hillel during college, is also famous for her Great Hamantaschen Dough and filling (which notably does not include poppy seeds).

Here are her recipes:

3 eggs
1/3 cup poppy seeds
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp shortening or vegetable oil
2.5 cups flour (add extra if
dough is sticky)
1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt
Hamantaschen Filling:
Note: Make this first; it will
keep in the refrigerator for
up to a week.
2 boxes pitted prunes
box apricots
½ box white raisins
Pinch of salt
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 overflowing cup of sugar
1 cup (or more) of sweet
Kiddush wine—use as needed
to taste

Mix together all ingredients for the dough and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Preheat oven to 375° F. Roll out dough into a thin sheet onto a floured surface. Cut as desired with cookie cutters. Bake in pan that is greased or lined with parchment paper for 15 minutes.

Chop the prunes, apricots and raisins together or use a food processor. Place in large non-reactive pot on low heat on the stove. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Add extra wine if the mixture is dry and difficult to stir. Mixture should end up mushy, so that it holds together, rather than wet. Use 1 tablespoon of filling for each hamantaschen.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ cup shortening or vegetable oil
½ cup sugar
3 large eggs (reserve one
for glaze)

¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla (optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cream the shortening, sugar and 2 eggs, then add in orange juice and optional vanilla. Then combine this with the dry ingredients to make dough. Roll the dough very thin on or between parchment paper sheets. Place parchment paper on cookie sheets and cut the dough into 3.5-inch circles. Carefully wrap each circle around 1 tbsp of filling, pulling in three sides of the circle to form a triangle. Glaze by brushing with the egg in reserve. Bake until brown or deep tan (about 20 minutes, but the color is the best indicator of whether they are done.) .

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