Monday, October 21, 2019

New recipes appeal to me, and I love to try new foods. However, when Shabbat or Yom Tov comes along, my first priority is the traditional foods that my grandmothers, z”l, used to prepare. With Purim looming, my thoughts have turned to hamantashen and nunt. 

Everyone knows what hamantashen are. There are many fillings available on the supermarket shelves. However, if lekvar (prune filling) is your favorite, try my simple recipe for a homemade version. Once you’ll try it, you won’t use the jarred stuff again.

Nunt is a walnut honey candy traditionally eaten on Purim, especially by people with roots in Galicia. Originally the mixture was poured onto a wet wooden board, rolled out and cut into pieces. It was a difficult job to pry the pieces off the board and onto the plate. When I first made it, I did it that way. Now I have a much easier method, as you will see below.

Hamantashen dough ingredients:   

  • 4 eggs 
  • ½ cup orange juice 
  • 2 cups of sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar 
  • 2 sticks margarine 
  • 6 ½-7 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 

Hamantashen directions:

Cream margarine and sugars. Add eggs and beat. Add four cups of flour and baking powder alternately with the juice. Add the additional flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough looks soft and manageable. Refrigerate the dough for a few hours or overnight. Roll out the dough to 1/4” thickness. Cut with glass or round cookie cutter. Fill with a bit of desired filling in center of circle. Fold up the arcs and pinch them closed, forming a three sided cookie. The center can have a bit of filling showing. When all the dough is used up, reroll the scraps to form more hamantashen. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

PS: This dough also makes a very good sugar cookie.

Lekvar filling ingredients:

  • 2 pounds pitted prunes
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water (water should not cover all the prunes or the lekvar will be too watery)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Lekvar filling directions:

Put all ingredients into a heavy saucepan and set on medium flame until it boils. Once it boils, reduce flame and cook another 20-30 minutes until the prunes are soft and most of the water is absorbed. If the water boils off before the prunes soften, add a few tablespoons of water. Process the prunes with the S blade in the food processor. The finished product will not be quite as smooth as the store bought lekvar, but the taste is incomparable.

Nunt ingredients:

  • 1 pound chopped walnuts
  • 1 pound honey  
  • ¼ cup sugar

Nunt directions:

In heavy saucepan, boil honey and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Reduce flame and add nuts,  stirring constantly. Cook for ½ hour until honey is absorbed into the nuts, and it’s a medium gold color. Allow to cool until it’s cool enough to handle. Prepare rectangles of foil, topped with rectangles of parchment paper which has been soaked in water and then wrung out. Form logs from the nut honey mixture, wrapping the logs in the paper and foil. Store in refrigerator. To serve, slice the logs into ½ inch slices.

By P. Samuels

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