While Purim is not a major Jewish holiday on the order of Rosh Hashanah or Passover, it is one I love to celebrate. The Purim story, found in a book called the Megillah or Book of Esther, features everything you could want in a political potboiler – an evil guy, a plot to kill innocent people, a beautiful and intelligent heroine, suspense, and a happy ending. Why bother watching House of Cards when you could hear this tale instead?
The Megillah is typically read on Purim with great merriment; often those reading dress up in costumes and the congregants get noisemakers to use when Haman, the evil protagonist, is mentioned. And then there are hamantaschen! No Jewish holiday is complete without food – in this case a thick cookie shaped like the three-corned hat that Haman supposedly wore and filled, traditionally, with sweetened prunes, apricots, or poppy seeds.
Of course, some of us who love the traditional story and merriment, prefer more creative hamantaschen. Last year my hamantaschen featured a filling reminiscent of charoset, with a dash of chocolate. This year, chocolate is at center stage; I went for the jar of Nutella, sitting in my pantry just begging to be part of the fun. The result is a sweet, not-too-thick dough (pâte sucrée to Francophiles) surrounding a Nutella brownie-cookie center.Read More