Purim celebrates the survival of the Jewish people from a plot by the evil Haman to destroy them. The story takes place in ancient Persia and starts with a party convened by the King Ahasuerus. When the Queen refuses to come to the party, he decides to find a new queen. After a beauty pageant, Esther the Jewess becomes queen, hiding her identity. Soon thereafter the king promotes Haman to prime minister. Esther’s uncle Mordechai refuses to bow down to Haman and when Haman finds out Mordechai is Jewish, he plots to kill all the Jews.
Esther saves the day by appealing to Ahasuerus that Haman wants to destroy her people and the King orders Haman killed. Because the King could not undo Haman’s decree, he allowed the Jews to preemptively rise up against those attempting to kill them. The Jews prevailed and Esther and Mordechai established the holiday of Purim.
On Purim we read Megilat Esther, the story of the holiday, distribute Mishloach Manot gift packages, give charity to the poor, and eat a festive meal. Every year on the Shabbat near Purim I cook a completely Persian menu.
On Purim we give friends and family gift packages containing hamentaschen and other tasty snacks and desserts. People get very creative and use lovely decorated boxes and bags to enhance their packages.
The best part about baking for this holiday is that hammentaschen, Purim’s quintessential dessert, can all be baked in advance and frozen with great success. In addition, the treats I suggest in The Holiday Kosher Baker Cookies and Candies section can also all be made and frozen and then ready to pack up for mishloach manot when you are ready to distribute them.
Hamantaschen are easier to roll if the dough is chilled for at least 30 minutes before rolling. An hour is even better.
Always roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper.
Additional hamantaschen baking tips can be found in The Holiday Kosher Baker.
The Kosher Baker
Orange Poppy Seed
Coffee Cardamom Shortbread
Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Vanilla Bean Crispy Treats
Chocolate Coconut and Macadamia Nut Candy
Chocolate Pistachio Candies
The Holiday Kosher Baker
Cookies and Candies
Decorated Brownies Bites
Licorice or Root Beer Chocolate Truffles
Mazel Cookies (fortune cookies)
Homemade Marshmallows: Coconut and Raspberry Swirl
Tie-dye Mini Black and White Cookies