Purim: History(?), Traditions and a Recipe
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: Where does the custom of masquerading on Purim come from?
We’re celebrating Purim this week, so I thought it would be interesting to talk a little about it. It’s an unusual holiday for a number of reasons, and I hope you’ll hear something on this program that you didn’t know before. First, we’ll remInd you of the Purim story, which is told in the Book of Esther. Then we’ll talk about the importance of Purim in Jewish history, and some traditions, customs and foods. And, finally, we’ll give you a recipe for the most typical Purim treat: hamentaschen.
2 cups (½ kilo or 1 pound) seedless prunes, cooked until soft, and chopped
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon (15 ml.) lemon juice
1/3-1/2 cup (65-100 gr.) sugar
½ cup (60 gr.) chopped walnuts
Mix all the ingredients; add more sugar, to taste. This will fill 4 doz. 3 1/2-inch (9 cm.) cookies.
APRICOT FILLING (Thanks to my mother, Rose Jimenez, for this)
1 lb. (450 grams) dried apricots
Water to cover plus 1” (2.5 cm)
1 ½ cups (300 gr.) sugar (or to taste)
Optional–¼ cup (50 gr.) slivered almonds, crushed with fingers (or chopped almonds)
Simmer the apricots in water, uncovered, until very soft. Mash or blend them (with any remaining water). Cook over very low heat for about 10 minutes, or until the texture is like thick jam. Add the sugar and stir. Stir in the almonds.
(You can use any roll-out cookie dough, I like this one because it is tasty and easy.)
¾ cup (145 gr.) sugar
¾ cup (170 gr.) softened butter or margarine
3 ¾ to 4 cups flour (420-450 gr.), measured lightly
3 tsp. (11 gr.) baking powder (“Polvo Royal”)
1 ½ tsp. (7.5 ml.) vanilla extract
Cream the sugar with the butter or margarine. Beat in the eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla extract. Chill the dough for 3 to 4 hours . Roll it out to 1/4″, about 2 cm. thickness. Cut it into 3-1/2″ (9 cm) circles. You can use the plastic top of an instant coffee jar. Place some filling in the middle of each circle. Pinch the edges of the circle together, leaving about 1/3 open, forming a cornucopia. Then fold over the flap and pinch these edges firmly together, so that it looks like a three-cornered hat, and you can see a little of the filling in the center. (If it sounds a little complicated, take a look at the video below.)
Bake them on a greased cookie sheet, or cookie sheet that you have lined with oven paper, for about 15-20 minutes at 3751 F, or 1901 C. Remove them from the cookie sheet immediately, and let them cool on a plate. This will make about 4 dozen.