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Purim Recipes

Apple Hamantaschen Galette

Emily Paster

I'll be making a batch of hamantaschen on Purim for my family, but it is a labor-intensive project. For those of you who need a more streamlined baking project, this apple hamantaschen galette is it. Keep the three-cornered shape of the hamantaschen, but instead of making dozens of small cookies, make one, big family dessert.

A galette, which can be sweet or savory, is a rustic kind of pastry featuring flaky dough circled around a filling. Italians have a similar idea called a crostada. Unlike pie, galette is not made in a dish, but is more free-form, requiring a slightly sturdier dough.

With his passion for fruit desserts, my husband was all over this apple hamantaschen galette. If you make one, I don’t think anyone will miss the hamantaschen cookies. After Purim, go ahead and make it in a circular shape. It’s too good to miss.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 oz. (one and a half sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 1/2 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
Pinch salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg
Turbinado sugar, optional

For the dough

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in small bowl, and place the bowl in the freezer for ten minutes.
  2. When the flour is quite cold, remove the bowl from the freezer and add the cubed butter.
  3. Toss the bowl to coat the butter with the flour.
  4. Cut the butter into the dough using a pastry cutter or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Leave some visible pieces of butter that are slightly smaller than a pea.
  5. Mix the water and lemon juice together and drizzle over the dough. Stir with a fork until the dough begins to come together.
  6. Gather the dough into a ball and knead it against the sides of the bowl until you have incorporated all of the dough.
  7. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour. (Dough can be made ahead and kept refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for longer periods.)

For the filling

  1. Combine the apple slices, lemon juice, and zest in a medium bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the sugar, spices, salt, and cornstarch, and add to the apple mixture, tossing to combine.

To assemble

  1. Place dough on a well-floured surface or nonstick rolling mat, and using a well-floured rolling pin, roll dough out in a circle shape until it is ¼ inch thick.
  2. Carefully transfer dough - a large pastry scraper comes in handy here - to a baking sheet lined with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper.
  3. Place the apple filling in the center of the galette leaving a two-inch border around the edge.
  4. Fold the dough over the apples in a triangle, pleating the dough as necessary. Pinch corners of the dough together to seal.
  5. Beat the egg with a teaspoon of water and brush the egg wash over the outside of the galette.
  6. Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar, if using.

To bake

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes at 400°F, then turn heat down to 350°F and bake an additional 25 minutes. (If crust begins to burn, cover edge with foil.)
  3. Cool galette on a wire rack for thirty minutes before serving.
  4. Garnish with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.

Emily Paster is the author of three cookbooks, Food Swap: Specialty Recipes for Bartering, Sharing & Giving (2016), The Joys of Jewish Preserving (2017) and, most recently, Epic Air Fryer Cookbook. She is the writer and photographer behind the website West of the Loop, which has been called “a family food blog to savor.” As the founder of the Chicago Food Swap, a community event where handmade foods are bartered and exchanged, Emily is a leader in the national food swap movement.

Pineapple Tart Rugelach

Lauren Monaco Grossman

On my wedding day, instead of having a wedding cake, I baked hundreds of pineapple tart rugelach. This dessert, which represents the marriage of a Peranakan pineapple tart and a Jewish rugelach, was one of the first ways I celebrated our multiracial and Jewish family through cooking, paying homage to my mother’s Peranakan roots and my husband’s Ashkenazi heritage. (Read about this recipe’s background in my essay “A Pineapple Tart Rugelach 400+ Years in the Making.”)

The great thing about this recipe is that you can bake these in advance and store them in the freezer, which is exactly what I did for our wedding. Our wedding day was free from the stress of last-minute troubleshooting buttercream frosting on a wedding cake, leaving more time to enjoy the day with our friends and family!

2 lbs. of chopped pineapple*
1 star anise or clove
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 pandan leaves, knotted, optional**
½ to ¾ cup sugar (depending on sweetness and size of pineapple)
2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (32 grams) confectioners sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (226 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
8 oz (225 grams) cold cream cheese, cubed
1 large egg
splash of milk
sugar for sprinkling

For the pineapple jam:

*Fresh pineapple is best but, in a pinch, you can use frozen or even canned pineapple. If using canned pineapple, you may have to cook the jam longer because the pineapple will not be as dry.

**Available at Southeast Asian grocery stores, usually in the frozen section.

To make the pineapple jam: Puree chopped pineapple in a blender until smooth, but not too much, so that there are a few small chunks remaining. In a wok or large pot, combine pineapple puree, star anise, cinnamon stick, and knotted pandan leaves. Cook on high heat until almost dry, around 15 minutes. Add sugar and stir until melted. Continue to cook until the jam lightly browns and becomes thick, around

10-20 minutes. Continue stirring while cooking so the sugar doesn’t burn.

Let jam cool. Jam can be made a few days ahead and stored in the fridge.

For the pastry:

In a food processor, pulse flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt a few times. Add in cubed cream cheese and butter. Pulse just until coarse crumbs form. Do not overwork dough. The less the dough is handled, the flakier the pastry. Pulse until dough comes together in big clumps. Divide dough into two parts. Wrap each section in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

To assemble: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Stack the lined baking sheet on top of another baking sheet to prevent the rugelach from burning on the bottom.

Divide one disk of dough in half. Roll one half of dough onto a work surface dusted with powdered sugar. Dust rolling pin with powdered sugar and roll dough into a circle that is 1/8” thick and about 8-9” in diameter. Dough will be quite sticky.

Spread about 2-3 tablespoons of pineapple jam evenly on top of the dough. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut dough into four equal wedges. Cut each wedge in half, then half again, for a total of 16 wedges. (If making larger cookies, only cut into 8 wedges). Starting from the outer, wider edge, roll wedge in on itself until you reach the center. If the dough is sticking to your fingers while rolling, dip your fingers in powdered sugar before rolling. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets 1/2” apart, making sure that the points are tucked under the base of the cookie. Refrigerate cookies for about 30 minutes before baking. Scrape work surface clean so there isn’t sticky residue from the previous dough and filling.

Repeat process with remaining dough and filling.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the topping:

Mix together egg and a splash of milk to make the egg wash. Brush tops of cookies with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, checking after 15 minutes. It may take up to 25 minutes until golden brown.

Remove cookies from baking tray immediately after baking so that the jam doesn’t stick to the baking tray. Let cookies cool on a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Serve at room temperature.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.

Read about the history of this recipe from author Lauren Monaco Grossman, then sign up to receive The Jewish Dish,’s monthly foodie email.

Lauren Monaco Grossman is a graphic designer and illustrator by day and amateur cook, baker and ice cream maker by night. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied Communication Design and Jewish Studies. She spends her free time watching her sourdough rise and drawing pictures of food.

Which cocktail resembles who you’d be in the Purim story? Find your drink, or try the whole M’gillah

Lemon Poppy Seed No-Bake Energy Bars

Chef Katie Simmons

Poppy seeds are frequently used in Purim confections. In Entree to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora, food editor Tina Wasserman explains that poppy seeds are symbolic of the many lots cast by Haman (in the story of Purim), and the promise God made to Abraham to spread his seed throughout the world – the very antithesis of the annihilation Haman planned. In Israel, many Purim foods are prepared with poppy seed in keeping with this promise. 

These no-bake bars are a delicious way to include some healthy snacks in your Purim goodie baskets. They combine almonds, dates, and whole grain oats with fresh lemon, shredded coconut, and poppy seeds. They're gluten-free, oil-free, and vegan. After Purim, they're great for pre-workout snacks!

1 cup almonds (4 ounces)
1 1/2 cups dried dates
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zest (and juice from only half the lemon)
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded coconut flakes, unsweetened
2-4 tablespoons water, as needed

Yield: 24 bars

To make the bars

  • In a food processor, combine the almonds and dates. Purée until well-chopped and starting to stick together. This might take a good 1-2 minutes, depending on the dryness of your dates.
  • Add the vanilla, lemon zest and juice, poppy seeds, oats, and salt. Purée until the mixture starts to come together. While the food processor is running, stream in 2 tablespoons of water. Remove the lid and feel the bar mix to check the consistency. (You want the mixture to be sticky and clump together.) If the mixture is too dry, place the lid back on and stream in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach this consistency. Note: I usually end up using about 4 tablespoons of water.
  •  Add the coconut flakes and purée just 2-3 seconds to incorporate.

To press and set your no-bake bars

  • Line a 9×9 square pan with plastic wrap. Place the bar mixture into the pan and use your fingers to press it all the way to the edges. Cover the top with another layer of plastic. Place another 9×9 pan on top and weigh it down with a couple of heavy cans.
  • Place the pans in a freezer for 1 hour.
  • When the bars have set, remove them from the pan.  Cut into 24 bars and enjoy!

Chef Katie Simmons' Tips

  • Unrefined: There’s no cane sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, or other type of refined sweetener in this recipe. Whole dates are used to provide natural sweetness. Dates are loaded with fiber, which helps your body regulate blood sugar and satiety better than any refined sweetener or syrup .
  • Truly Raw? Almonds sold in the US are pasteurized, for food safety reasons, meaning they aren’t truly “raw.”  You can swap them out for raw nuts like brazil nuts, macadamia, or cashews.
  • Maximize the Lemon Flavor: Use the zest of the entire lemon for maximum lemon flavor.  A microplane works best for removing the zest without getting any of the bitter parts of the peel.

    Classically-trained Chef Katie Simmons is a personal chef in Chicago. Her journey to cooking has been a winding path from Kentucky to backpacking in New Zealand through culinary school at Kendall College and working for Whole Foods Market.  Her own frustrations of being an overweight fitness professional finally led her to embrace a plant-based, vegan diet. 

Almond and Sesame Seed Brittle

Stella Cohen

Toasted sesame seeds, honey and almonds make a deep-golden, chewy treat.  Popular at any celebration, this ancient confection is traditionally offered over the Festivals of Purim and Hanukkah (Festival of Lights). These petite treats, not unlike the nut bars that are popular today, are utterly addictive

5 cups hulled sesame seeds
1 tablespoon plain (all-purpose) flour
6 ounces (170g) blanched split almonds, toasted
1 ½ cups clear honey
1 ½ cups hot water
1½ cups sugar
  • Sprinkle 1 cup of sesame seeds with a pinch of flour and toast lightly in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat for 4 minutes or until lightly golden. Shake the pan often and stir with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat this process, 1 cup at a time, with the remaining four cups of sesame seeds.
  • Heat the honey, water and sugar in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until it thickens and reaches the soft ball stage*. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture into a very large, heatproof bowl.
  • Add the almonds and 3 cups of sesame seeds and stir together vigorously with a wooden spoon. Spread the hot mixture onto an oiled worktop. Sprinkle in the remaining 2 cups of sesame seeds, working it a little at a time into the mixture. Dampen your hands with cold water and roll into four ropes about 1-inch (2.5cm) in diameter. Cut diagonally into 1-inch (2.5cm) sections using a sharp knife dipped into hot water. Allow to cool at room temperature until hardened.

Stella's Hints

  • *The soft ball stage is reached when a small drop of syrup forms into a little ball at the bottom of a cup of cold water. It will flatten and feel soft and pliable.
  • To store: Place the brittle between layers of baking paper and store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

    Reprinted with permission from Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish family recipes from the Mediterranean island of Rhodes © 2012 by Stella Cohen, The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection. Photography by Marc Hoberman.

    Sephardic cuisine expert, artist, textile designer, and cookery writer, Stella Cohen is a passionate ambassador for the Jewish community, dedicating her life to the celebration, preservation, and education of Sephardic values and traditions. Stella’s heart lies in Southern Africa as well as in the Mediterranean, as she was born and raised in Zimbabwe and has a family tree entrenched in Sephardic history. Her parents originate from Rhodes, Greece, and Marmaris, Turkey and she is the great-granddaughter of Yaacov Capouya, the Rabbi of Rhodes.


Queen Esther's Jaffa Poppy Seed Tea Cake with Orange Brandy Sugar Glaze

Marcy Goldman

For Purim, make this cake in miniature loaf pans (usually 12 mini loaves per baking tray) and pack 2 or 3 of them in each Purim basket. This an especially moist, fragrant cake. You can substitute half and half or orange juice (for a pareve cake) for the evaporated milk, but the milk makes for a fine-textured, delicately crumbed loaf.

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened evaporated milk or orange juice or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon undiluted frozen orange juice or orange liqueur
2 tablespoons finely minced orange zest
1/3 cup poppy seeds
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brandy (or ginger ale)
Zest of 1 orange, finely minced
1/2 cup sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans, one large 12-cup Bundt pan, or a 12-portion mini-loaf pan. (If using miniature loaves for a Purim basket, first spray the loaf pan generously with nonstick cooking spray, then line each mold with a paper baking cup widened to fit the loaf molds. This will make the loaves easy to remove and lend them that professional look.)

For the cake

  • Using a whisk or in an electric mixer, blend the sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs. Stir in the evaporated milk, vanilla, frozen orange juice, zest, and poppy seeds and beat well. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder, and blend until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, depending on the pan(s) used. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, the cake is done. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cake rack.

For the glaze

Poppy Seed Cake with Blueberries and Labneh

Michael Solomonov

The earthy fruitiness of poppy seeds makes them shine in recipes both sweet and savory; they’re equally at home on top of a buttered bagel as in a sweet filling for hamantaschen, the stuffed, three-cornered Purim cookie. This poppy seed cake is basically a madeleine batter - almond flour, egg whites, and butter. The butter is browned first to give it a bit more complexity and a nuttiness that complements the poppy seeds. The egg whites keep the cake nice and tender and lend a bit of crispness to the crust.

Labneh (or labaneh or labné) is yogurt that has been salted and drained to remove excess water. The result is a thick, tart, and creamy spread that’s similar in texture to Greek-style yogurt, but richer in flavor. The tradition of drained yogurt comes from the Levant, but Israelis adopted it wholeheartedly and use labneh in sauces, eat it instead of yogurt, and just smear it on bread with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of za’atar. Although kosher laws mean that labneh seldom appears on the Israeli dinner table (where meat is typically served), I use it often at Zahav.

Pureed with tons of soft herbs and garlic, labneh is the base of the striking jade-green sauce for Zahav’s famous fried cauliflower. Labneh also works beautifully as a sauce for fish (amazing when mixed with amba, mango pickle). I love to use labneh in desserts because it mellows the sweetness.

10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup almond flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
5 large egg whites
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups blueberries, for serving
1 cup labneh, for serving
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling frequently, until the foaming stops and the butter turns a rich brown color and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whisk the almond flour, all-purpose flour, and baking powder in a bowl.
  3. Combine the egg whites, confectioners’ sugar, and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer and a big bowl). Beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and thick, about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and fold in gently with a spatula until just combined. Whisk about 1/4 cup of the batter into the brown butter until well combined, and then fold the brown butter mixture into the batter. Add the poppy seeds and lemon zest and fold in gently until just combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the middle. Line a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with oiled parchment.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan. You can turn it out of the pan before slicing and serving, topped with blueberries and labneh, or serve straight from the pan.

Yield: One 9-by-13-inch cake

Michael Solomov Introduces Labneh

  • Prepared labneh is available in Middle Eastern markets. Making it is simple: Add salt to taste to plain (not nonfat) yogurt, scoop it into a cheesecloth-lined colander, and set that over a bowl. Place the whole contraption in your refrigerator to drain overnight, and you’ll have labneh for breakfast.

Excerpted with permission from ZAHAV by Michael Solomonov. Copyright © 2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2015 by Mike Persico. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Chef Michael Solomonov was born in Israel and grew up in Pittsburgh. He and Steven Cook are the co-owners of CookNSolo Restaurants, home to some of Philadelphia's most distinctive culinary concepts, including Zahav, Federal Donuts, Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, Rooster Soup Co., and Goldie. They are a combined four-time James Beard Award Winners, including the 2016 "Best International Cookbook" and "Book of the Year" awards for their first cookbook, Zahav, and a 2011 "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" win for Solomonov and who in May, was named the 2017 JBF's "Outstanding Chef".

Hamantaschen are the most recognizable food associated with the Purim holiday, but there are many different foods for celebrating Purim. Check out some favorite recipes from around the world.

When we say "Purim," three-cornered cookies are one of the first things that come to mind. But where did they come from? Learn the history of hamantaschen, plus recipes both sweet and savory.

Savory Persian Herb and Cheese Hamantaschen

Amelia Saltsman

Hamantaschen, the traditional triangular Ashkenazic Purim pastries, are typically a sweet treat. I’ve taken a savory approach here, using spring herbs, a Persian favorite, to honor Esther and Mordechai’s heritage, as well as the season.

With their flaky dough, these Haman’s hats (or pockets or ears) are reminiscent of burekas, the small hand pies popular in Israel and the eastern Mediterranean. You can make snack-size hamantaschen or large ones for a vegetarian main dish (see the variation at the end of the recipe).

For the pastry:
1 1/2 cups (190 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 g) whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (170 g) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) pieces
1/2 cup (120 ml) ice water
For the filling:
1 bunch each Persian or regular mint, leek or garlic chives, pepper cress, green onions, and tarragon
3/4 cup (170 g) labneh, homemade or store-bought
6 ounces (170 g) feta cheese, crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash

To Make the Pastry

In a large bowl, stir together the flours and salt with a fork. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture and, using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse sand with some flattened pieces of butter still visible. Stir in the ice water, a little at a time, until the dough just sticks together when pressed between your fingertips. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and flatten into a thick rectangle. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. (The dough can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated; let it rest at room temperature until soft enough to roll out, about 15 minutes.)

To Make the Filling

Finely chop enough of each of the herbs in any combination preferred to total 1¼ cups (75 g) lightly packed. In a medium bowl, use a fork to mash together the labneh and feta. Stir in the egg, then stir in the chopped herbs.

To Assemble the Pastries

Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Have ready 2 sheet pans. If you like, line them with parchment paper.

Divide the dough in half and rewrap and refrigerate half of it. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the other half into a rectangle or circle 1/16 to ⅛ inch (2 to 3 mm) thick. Cut out 12 circles each 3½ inches (9 cm) in diameter, rerolling any scraps as needed.

Mound 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each dough circle. Fold the sides of the dough up over the filling to form a triangle, leaving a nickel-size bit of filling exposed. Pinch the three corners of the triangle very firmly to seal. Arrange the pastries on a sheet pan, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Refrigerate the first batch while you make more with the remaining half of the dough and filling. Top off the pastries with any leftover filling. Brush the pastries with the egg wash.

Bake the pastries for 12 minutes; the bottoms will be light golden. Reduce heat to 375°F (190°C) and continue to bake until the crust is a rich gold and the filling is puffed and browned in places, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Using an offset spatula, transfer the pastries to a wire rack and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Refrigerate leftover hamantaschen; they can be reheated in a 350°F (180°C).

Main Dish Variation

To make 6 large hamantaschen, cut three 6-inch (15-cm) circles from each piece of dough. Use about ⅓ cup (70 g) of filling for each dough circle and fold as directed. As you complete shaping each hamantasch, use a wide offset spatula to move it onto the baking sheet. Bake at 425°F (220°C) for 15 minutes and at 375°F (190°C) for about 25 minutes.

Kitchen Note

Unbaked hamantaschen can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 week. Brush frozen pastries with egg wash just before baking, and increase oven times to 15 and 18 minutes, respectively.

Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photo by Staci Valentine.


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