Posts Tagged ‘Purim Recipes’

Purim Poppy Seed Cake

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

poppy seed cakeweb

Happy spring! This week we celebrate a couple of spring holidays—Easter, of course, but also the Jewish festival of Purim.

Purim begins tomorrow evening. I have always enjoyed the story of Queen Esther, who saved not only her guardian but her people with a mixture of charm and craft. (These were the only weapons available to women for centuries, particularly to Jewish women living in an alien culture.)

Married to the king of Persia and hiding her Jewish identity, Esther could only keep Kosher if she subsisted on a vegan diet. Seeds were important to that diet; hence, people often eat dishes made with poppy seeds on Purim.

Becky Bixler, a friend of my neighbor Alice, provided the recipe for this simple, rich cake. It will represent the state of Iowa (where Becky lives) in my forthcoming book about funeral foods. Becky takes it to funerals frequently.

Happy Purim! May we all be as resourceful as Esther this week and every week.

If you’d like another Purim recipe, try my hamentaschen.

The Cake


4 eggs, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (salted is best as there is no salt in the recipe, but sweet will work), at room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
8 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup poppy seeds
a little confectioner’s sugar (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan. (Becky says “oil a Bundt pan,” but I’m paranoid so I add the flour as well.)

Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites on high speed until they form peaks. Spoon the fluffy whites into a clean bowl, and set them aside.

Using the same mixer bowl you used for the egg whites (it doesn’t matter if a tiny bit of white is left in it), cream together the butter and the sugar. Beat in the egg yolks. Combine the sour cream and the baking soda, and add them to the butter mixture. On low speed stir in the flour, the vanilla, and the poppy seeds.

Gently fold in the egg whites, and spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 45 to 60 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and let it cool for 10 to 12 minutes before removing the cake.

Sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar if you want to make it look festive. Serves 10.


Queen for a Day

Friday, February 26th, 2010

the queenweb

I wrote about Purim a couple of weeks ago in a post in which I announced that was giving away a tin of hamantaschen to a lucky reader of this blog. (I hope it has arrived on her snowy doorstep!)
I noted then that Purim is probably the most festive day in the Jewish calendar. Like most Jewish holidays it has a dark side: Queen Esther’s victory over the nasty Haman and her salvation of the Jewish people came only after long persecution.
We wouldn’t appreciate the happy days without the sad ones, however, so I still love to celebrate it. I enjoy being Queen Esther for the day. I just don’t get to wear a crown often enough!
Here’s a recipe for hamantaschen so that those of you who didn’t win them (or order them) from can still join in the festivities. Purim will fall this Sunday, February 28, so you still have a day or so to stock up on ingredients.
My mother and I made a batch yesterday as the snow fell outside. I was a little nervous about the dietary consequences of being snowed in with a batch of cookies, but fortunately the boys next door had friends visiting so we managed to give away quite a few of the hamantaschen.
This recipe is basically a sugar-cookie dough with fruit filling. If you like your dough a little less sweet, try this recipe from If you keep kosher or want to avoid dairy products, you may use margarine in your cookies, but the butter is a lot more flavorful.
Next year, I’m going to try making savory hamantaschen filled with cheese—mmm. Meanwhile, these are pretty darn good.
Pedants among you may be wondering about the singular of the word “hamantaschen.” One of these cookies is called a “hamantasch.” Most people bake more than one, however, so you won’t need to use the word “hamantasch” frequently.
Dress up, sing songs, drink a few goblets of your favorite tipple (mine is diet soda), and enjoy these traditional triangular cookies. Happy Purim!
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) sweet butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour plus a little more for patting out the cookies
jam as needed for filling (between 1/2 and 1 cup); we tried both apricot and raspberry
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl cream together the butter and the sugar. Beat in the egg and mix well.
Beat in the orange juice and vanilla, followed by the baking powder and the salt.
Stir in the flour and continue to mix gently until all of the ingredients are blended.
On a floured board pat about a third of the dough down to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Use a biscuit cutter, glass, or clean can to cut the dough into circles. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Place the circles at least a couple of inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Place a tiny bit (about 1/2 teaspoon or maybe just a LITTLE more) of jam in the middle of each circle. (Too much jam will overwhelm your cookies during the baking process.)
Carefully fold the circles into triangles around the jam. This is a little tricky: If your triangles aren’t high-sided enough the cookies will flatten out in the oven. (They’ll taste good anyway, but they ARE supposed to look like a triangular hat.)
Seal the seams of the triangles with cold water.
Bake the cookies until they just begin to brown about the edges, 14 to 18 minutes. You will have between 15 and 20 hamantaschen, depending on the size of your cutting instrument.
queen eatswebblu

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Hamentaschen Drawing

Monday, February 8th, 2010
(Courtesy of

(Courtesy of

Purim is almost upon us, and the nice folks at have offered to send a tin of gourmet Hamentaschen to one of my blog readers or Twitter followers.
I highly recommend the holiday of Purim to those of you who are unfamiliar with it. It may well be the most joyous holiday in the Jewish calendar.
It celebrates one of the relatively few heroines in the Bible—Queen Esther of Persia. Here’s a brief rundown of her story:
A young Jewish girl in the fourth century B.C.E., Esther won a beauty pageant held by King Ahasuerus (a.k.a. Xerxes), who was looking for a new wife. He had executed the previous one in a fit of pique. He replaced her with Esther.
Esther’s cousin and former guardian, Mordecai, warned her not to reveal to the king that she was Jewish. Living in exile in Persia, the Jews were often subjected to anti-Semitism.
The king’s evil counselor, Haman, took offense when Mordecai refused to bow down to him and arranged to have all the Jews in the country killed. Esther went to the king and revealed her identity. This act took great courage, given the fate of her predecessor. Esther pulled it off, however.
In the end, the horrible Haman was hanged at the gallows he had erected for Mordecai. Esther and the Jewish people were given permission to defend themselves against their enemies. Jews in Persia held a HUGE party to celebrate their brave, beautiful queen and their enhanced status.
To commemorate Esther’s resourcefulness Jewish people party on Purim. It’s a time for dressing up in costumes and playing pranks. It’s also a time for giving to the needy and for exchanging gifts of food. And it’s a time for getting drunk—or at least for seeing the world from a new, youthful perspective. 
"Esther" by John Everett Millais (Courtesy of the Tate Online)

"Esther" by John Everett Millais (Courtesy of the Tate Online)

Hamentaschen are a sweet Purim treat. I’ve loved them all my life. They rank somewhere between a cookie and a small cake in bakeries. They are triangular (some say to mimic the shape of nasty Haman’s tricorn hat). And they’re enhanced with poppy seed or fruit filling.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, Hamentaschen are occasionally filled with and/or covered with chocolate in our chocoholic culture!
I’ll be posting a traditional Hamentaschen recipe soon. Meanwhile, I encourage you to enter the drawing from Here’s what you have to do:
Leave a comment on this blog or post a tweet from now through this coming Friday, February 12. I’ll cut off entries at midnight EST.
The comment or tweet should contain two pieces of information.
First, it should tell me what YOUR favorite food holiday—religious or non-religious—is.
Second, it should provide a link to the web site. Find something on the site that intrigues you—a recipe, a product (they have tasty foods available year round, not just for Purim!), a piece of information about a Jewish holiday.
If you choose to tweet rather than post a comment here, please send a tweet to me (remember, my Twitter name is LaTinque) so I won’t miss your contribution!
Next Monday, February 15, I will randomly select a winner from the comments and tweets. will send that lucky person the tin of Hamentaschen. It should arrive in plenty of time to help you usher in Purim on February 28.
As they said of Levy’s rye bread, you don’t have to be Jewish to love Hamentaschen!
While you’re thinking about your comment and/or tweet, you might like to try this recipe from’s Chef Jamie Geller.
Jamie has provided several recipes that enable readers to consume alcohol during Purim without getting drunk. She calls them her “saucy” selections. This soup will enable you to celebrate this holiday without going overboard.
I look forward to reading your comments……
Jamie's Soup (Courtesy of

Jamie's Soup (Courtesy of

Kosher Italian Bean Soup
(Courtesy of and Jamie Geller)
1 medium onion, quartered
6 cups water
3 cups Imagine Organic No-Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth
3/4 cup dry red wine
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can white beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
10 baby carrots
10 baby zucchini
1 frozen crushed garlic cube
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
Place all ingredients in a 6-quart stockpot. Cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce the soup to a simmer and cook it uncovered for 18 to 20 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and serve. Serves 8. 
Jamie Geller (Courtesy of

Jamie Geller (Courtesy of

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