This recipe is a variation of fried Italian dough, which was commonly prepared in Italian kitchens, but had no association with Purim. It is a perfect example of one ethnic holiday custom infiltrating general society.
Hamantaschen, the traditional triangular Ashkenazic Purim pastries, are typically a sweet treat. This recipe takes a savory approach, using spring herbs, a Persian favorite, to honor Esther and Mordechai’s heritage, as well as the season.
Tu BiShvat, called the "New Year of the Trees," falls at a seemingly incongruous time of year.
Tu BiShvat is a minor festival whose provenance dates only to the time of the Second Temple. However, the kabbalists who clustered around the great fifteenth-century mystic Isaac Luria of Safed placed great weight on the holiday, creating new festivities, gatherings at which hymns were sung, fruit (particularly carob) was eaten, and four cups of wine were taken (as in the Passover seder).