Traditional Purim Recipes
Traditional Purim Foods
From hamantaschen to kreplach to the lesser known graybeh and "Haman's fingers," food has been a staple of Purim Jewish tradition and comforting familiarity since the dawn of time. While traditional Purim foods vary greatly from community to community -- the good news is that we’re all willing to share. There’s no DNA test required to try delectable dishes from different regions and cultures. Below are some recipes you can prepare from different regions where Jews have found themselves in the Diaspora.
Ka'ak: Savory Cookies with Sesame and Caraway Seeds
By: Sina Mizrahi, Gather A Table
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 cup oil
100 grams margarine (or coconut oil)
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the oil, margarine, and water, and knead until a smooth dough forms. Cut the dough in half.
- Knead the caraway seeds into one half of the dough. Working in batches, pinch small balls off the dough. Between your hands, roll out into a long rope and pinch both ends together. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until both doughs are formed.
- Brush each ring with the egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake, one tray at a time, for 20 minutes or until golden brown the top is crispy. Allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container.
- Freezer: Place in an airtight container, wrap with many layers of plastic wrap and store in freezer for up to 6 months. You can easily double up this recipe.
Reprinted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi copyright © 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons/200 grams ghee or clarified butter, from the fridge so it is solid
scant 2/3 cup/70 grams confectioners' sugar
3 cups/370 grams all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 4 teaspoons orange blossom water
2 and 1/2 teaspoons rose water
about 5 teaspoons/30 grams unsalted pistachios
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, cream together the ghee and confectioners' sugar for five minutes, until fluffy, creamy, and pale.
- Replace the whip with the beater attachment, add the flour, salt, and orange blossom and rose waters, and mix for a good three to four minutes, until a uniform, smooth dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
- Pinch a piece of dough, weighing about 1/2 ounce (15 grams) and roll it into a ball between your palms. Flatten it slightly and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the dough, arranging the cookies on lined sheets and spacing them well apart.
- Press one pistachio into the center of each cookie.
- Bake for 17 minutes, making sure the cookies don't take on any color but just cook through. Remove from the oven and leave to cook down completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to five days.
Sweet cigars filled with coconut and almonds. Recipe reprinted from Yehudit-Aviv
1/2 cup oil
3 and 1/2 ounces butter or margarine
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 package (2 teaspoons) baking powder
about 2 and 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups shredded coconut, plus additional for garnish
1 cup finely ground almonds
2 drops almond extract (optional)
17.6 ounces (about 2 and 1/2 cups) sugar
1 cup water
rind from 1 whole orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice of 1 lemon
- Put oil, butter, water, vanilla sugar, and baking powder in a bowl and mix very well. Add the flour so that the dough is soft but not sticky.
- Prepare the sugar syrup: boil all ingredients for about 20 to 30 minutes until it is the consistency of syrup. Keep warm on low flame until the cigars are prepared and cooled.
- Roll out the dough to about 1/5 inch thick and then cut the dough into strips of about one and a half inches wide by three inches long. Let the strips rest while you prepare the filling.
- Prepare the filling: mix all ingredients with some sugar syrup (see step 5) or coconut oil till it is moist and holds together.
- Fill with a thin strip of filing on the outer edge of the dough and then roll closed like a cigar. Put on a baking tray covered with parchment paper and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes till golden. Let cool.
- Dip cigars into warm syrup for about two minutes, and then roll into ground coconuts or just dip the two ends into the ground coconut. Enjoy!
Recipe by Jessica Halfin, reprinted from Hadassah Magazine
Makes 3 dozen cookies
8 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 and 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
84 ounces neutral vegetable oil (I prefer safflower oil)
3 cups liquid honey
1 cup water
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1/2 cup sesame seeds, for sprinkling
- Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Set on the countertop next to your stovetop.
- Toast the sesame seeds: Toss sesame seeds into a skillet over high heat and cook until they turn golden and emit a nutty aroma, a couple of minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.
- Make the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the oil, roughly 80 percent of the water, vinegar, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and mix to form a rough dough.
- Turn the dough out onto your work surface and knead until it just comes together. Add the rest of the water little by little as needed and continue to knead until the dough becomes soft and pliant. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp dish towel, and set aside.
- Heat the oil: In a 5-to-6-quart pot or large wok, heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When you wait for the oil heat up, make the honey syrup. In a small pot, combine the honey and water. Bring to a light boil, then turn off the heat and add the orange blossom water. Stir to combine. Place the pot with the syrup next to the pot with your frying oil, so you can easily submerge your cookies in the syrup after they are fried.
- Form and fry the chebakia: Cut the dough into four equal sections, and work with one section at a time, keeping the others wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. Roll sections into rough 20-x-13-inch rectangles that are approximately 1/16-inch thick. Using a pizza wheel, trim the edges of the rectangle to achieve a cleaner shape. Still using the pizza wheel, cut each rectangle into six smaller, even rectangles.
- Working with one rectangle at a time, gently slice each into five strands with the pizza wheel, but make sure to leave a 1/4-inch uncut border on both ends of the rectangle.
- Cross the two middle strands, then cross the next two inner strands behind the first two strands, and do the same with the third set of strands. Turn the ends under to form a rose shape. Place on your work surface and continue to form a few more roses, to be fried together in one batch.
- When you’re ready to fry, place the formed chebakia on a metal spatula or spider and gently lower down into the hot oil. Hold the utensil in the pot briefly, then remove it leaving just the chebakia in the oil. Fry two to three minutes on each side until deeply golden.
- Once the chebakia have achieved the desired color, remove them from the oil, one at a time, and immediately lower into the warm honey syrup. Turn each cookie to coat, then immediately transfer to the prepared baking tray. Brush with a little more syrup, then sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and let cool.
- Continue forming and frying more chebakia, then re-roll any scraps and repeat the process.
- Let the chebakia cool completely before serving. Cookies will last up to one week wrapped tightly and stored in the refrigerator.
A note about frying: Once anything is added to hot oil, the temperature of the oil will drop. Therefore, between each new batch of chebakia, you will want to bring your frying oil back up to 350 degrees before starting. This takes patience but will make your frying even and consistent from batch to batch.
Recipe by Marcia Friedman
The Italians often make their pastries with a savory or pumpkin filling. But for Purim, which arrives close to spring after perhaps we’ve grown a little tired of the winter squashes (or anything winter, for that matter) and which often calls for the exchange of sweet treats, my imagination conjured a sweet, festive version.
1 ready-to-bake sheet puff pastry
3/4 cup chopped dried golden figs (preferably Turkish or natural with no preservatives)
1/4 cup cognac or brandy
1 teaspoon honey
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (preferably freshly grated)
1/2 cup mascarpone
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
12 small pieces of good-quality dark chocolate (optional)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tablespoon cognac or brandy
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Start puff pastry thawing according to the package directions. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine the figs, cognac or brandy, honey, cinnamon stick halves, and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed, about five minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Remove and discard cinnamon stick halves.
- In a small bowl, combine the mascarpone and cornstarch. Stir in the figs, leaving any liquid behind in the pan and setting it aside (don't discard).
- Unfold the puff pastry dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll to a 14-x-10-inch rectangle. Cut into 12 squares. Place a scant one tablespoonful of filling in the middle of each square, and, if using chocolate, lightly press one chocolate piece into the middle of the filling. Brush the edges of the square with the beaten egg, and fold the dough over the filling to make a triangle. Pinch ends firmly and use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges to seal. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush the pastry tops with beaten egg.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly. While the pastries bake, make the glaze by adding the cognac and vanilla to the remaining fig mixture juices in the pan, and stir to combine. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and stir in this liquid slowly just until the mixture becomes smooth enough to drizzle. If more liquid is needed, mix in water a few drops at a time.6. When the pastries have cooled slightly, lightly drizzle the glaze over the top and serve them warm. The filling stays very hot for awhile, so be careful.