Maureen Abood’s verion of ma’amoul. (photo from maureenabood.com)
There are many different Purim foods around the world. In an article from several years ago on aish.com, Dr. Yvette Alt Miller gives recipes for a dozen lesser-known treats. Among them are kreplach, which she describes as a “hidden” food in that the filling is covered up by dough; therefore, it’s appropriate for Purim because of all the hidden aspects in the Purim story.
Other baked treats Miller suggests are French palmiers, to evoke the ears of Haman; Russian kulich, a long, sweet challah loaf, resembling ropes like those Haman wanted to use to hang Mordechai and on which he was hanged; Moroccan Purim bread, boyoja ungola di Purim, using hard-boiled eggs to represent Haman’s eyes; the Bulgarian pasta dish caveos di Aman (Haman’s hair); the Israeli orecchi di Aman (Haman’s twisted ears) and Persian nanbrangl (Haman’s fleas). For all the recipes, visit aish.com/purim_foods_around_the_world.
Here are three other recipes to try. Jews from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt make ma’amoul (which means filled) for Purim – the filling can be nuts (including, but not usually, almonds) or dried fruits, like dates or figs. I’ve also made poppy seed pound cake for the holiday, and my friend (cookbook author) Joan Nathan’s recipe for figs stuffed with walnuts.
(makes 36 cookies)
1 cup finely chopped nuts (pistachio or walnuts)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp orange-blossom water
1 tsp water
3 cups white flour
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, cut in pieces
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp orange-blossom water
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a bowl, place flour. Cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle orange-blossom water over dough. Stir and knead about three minutes.
- Form into 36 balls with a scant tablespoon for each ball. Hold each ball in your hand, make an indentation in the middle and work dough out to form a small cup about a quarter-inch thick.
- Combine nuts, sugar, orange blossom water and water for filling. Fill each ball with one teaspoon filling. Pinch dough, sealing in filling and molding the top to resemble a gumdrop. Using the tines of a fork, decorate the cookies.
- Place cookies one inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 20 to 22 minutes until light brown around bottom edges and pointed tops.
- Before serving, cool and then sprinkle confectioners’ sugar on top.
POPPY SEED POUND CAKE
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1 cup milk
1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a tube pan.
- In a bowl, mix poppy seeds with milk and let sit five minutes.
- In a larger bowl, cream margarine, 3/4 cup sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract.
- In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add alternately to creamed mixture with poppy seeds and milk.
- In another bowl, beat egg whites then add 1/4 cup sugar. Carefully fold in to batter.
- Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Pour half the batter into the greased tube pan, sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar then pour in the rest of batter and top with the remainder of the cinnamon sugar. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.
FIGS STUFFED WITH WALNUTS
(This recipe comes from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen. It makes 6 servings.)
12 dried figs
12 walnut halves
grated coconut (optional)
Open the centre of each fig and place a walnut half inside, then roll the stuffed fig in grated coconut, if using. Place on a dish with other fruit and serve.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, author, editor/compiler of nine kosher cookbooks (working on a 10th) and a food writer living in Jerusalem. She leads English-language Shuk Walks in Machane Yehuda and writes restaurant features for janglo.net.