In an article by Dr. Yvette Alt Miller on the aish.com website, she cites Purim foods around the world from a variety of cookbooks. She includes the Ashkenazi kreplach (a “hidden” food because of all the secrets hidden in the story); French Palmiers (to evoke the misshapen ears of Haman); Russian Kulich, a long, sweet challah loaf to resemble ropes like Haman wanted to use to hang Mordechai and on which he was hanged; Moroccan Boyoja Ungola di Purim (using hard-boiled eggs to represent Haman’s eyes); Rhodes Folares where the loafs look like cages where Haman was trapped inside; Bulgarian pasta, Caveos di Aman (Haman’s hair); Greek and Turkish Haman’s fingers; Libyan Debla; Syrian Sisemiyeh (Haman’s fleas); Israeli Orecchi di Aman (Haman’s twisted ears); and, finally, Persian Nanbrangl (Haman’s fleas).
Here are some recipes, other than hamantashen, to try.
36 nut-filled cookies
Jews from Syria, Lebanon and Egypt make these cookies for Purim. The word Ma’amoul means “filled,” because of their hidden filling like Esther who kept her Jewish origins hidden. Jews also call it menena and do not make them with the traditional Arab semolina.
1 cup finely chopped nuts
¼ cup sugar
1 t. orange-blossom water
1 t. water
3 cups white flour
1 cup unsalted butter or margarine, cut in pieces
2 T. water
1 T. orange-blossom water
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place flour in a bowl. Cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle orange-blossom water over dough. Stir and knead about
3. Form into 36 balls with a scant tablespoon for each ball. Hold each ball in your
hand, make an indentation in the middle, work dough out to form a small cup about ¼-inch thick.
4. Combine nuts, sugar, orange-blossom water and water for filling. Fill each ball with 1 teaspoon filling. Pinch dough, sealing in filling and molding top to resemble a gumdrop. Using tines of a fork, decorate cookies. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 20-22 minutes until light brown around bottom edges and pointed tops.
5. Cool. Before serving, sprinkle confectioners’ sugar on top.
Poppy Seed Pound Cake
1/3 cup poppy seeds
1 cup milk
1 cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
½ t. almond extract
2 ½ cups flour
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
½ cup sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a tube pan.
2. In a bowl, mix poppy seeds with milk and let sit 5 minutes.
3. In a larger bowl, cream margarine, 3/4 cup sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract.
4. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder. Add alternately to creamed mixture with poppyseed/milk.
5. In another bowl, beat egg whites then add ¼ cup sugar. Carefully fold in to batter.
6. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
7. Pour half 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 55-60 minutes.
Figs Stuffed With Walnuts
This recipe comes from my friend Joan Nathan’s “Jewish Holiday Kitchen” in the Purim chapter.
12 dried figs
12 walnut halves
Grated coconut (optional)
1. Open the center of each fig.
2. Place a walnut half in the center of each fig and roll the stuffed fig in grated coconut, if using. Place on a dish with other fruit and serve.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, author, and compiler/editor of nine kosher cookbooks (working on a 10th) and food writer for North American Jewish publications. She lives in Jerusalem where she leads weekly walks of the Jewish food market, Machaneh Yehudah, in English, and writes the restaurant features for Janglo.net, the oldest, largest website for English speakers.