Purim is a traditional Jewish holiday that is acknowledged as one of the most joyous occasions of the year. It’s about caring and sharing and here are three classic recipes for your bread machine that can make that happen.
Purim is a two-day Jewish holiday that takes place this year on March 24th and 25th. It celebrates the victory over the evil Persian Prime Minister Haman by the leader of the Jews at that time, Mordechai. This all took place in the 4th century BCE so it’s a very ancient tradition. Following their victory the Jews celebrated the event with a holiday now known as Purim.
It was two days of feasting and celebrations that also involved sharing and caring for the less fortunate. A tradition of delivering baskets of certain foods was followed and these baskets were often delivered by children.
There are many foods that are prepared during Purim but there are a few that are unique to the holiday and we’re going to explore how to make them using your bread machine.
The first is an appetizer or soup dumpling known as Kreplach. It’s one of the signature dishes during Purim and it’s essentially a triangular shaped dumpling with a variety of savory fillings from meat to potatoes. It’s typically boiled and served in a soup but can also be fried and served as an appetizer with sour cream on the side. We’ll explore how to make the dough in the bread machine and then how to roll it out and shape the Kreplach. There’s also a cheese filling variation that is baked in the oven.
A similar variation is called Hamantaschen. It features the same triangular shape but it’s filled with sweet fillings from fruits to jellies. It’s more of a cookie and is usually fried or baked. The dough recipe is the same but we’ll cover some filling variations.
Finally there’s Challah bread. This is a braided bread that’s served across a range of Jewish holidays and it often shows up on the Purim table and the Purim baskets.
Caring and Sharing
One of the wonderful traditions associated with Purim is caring and sharing. This involved both caring for the poor and sharing with others. The sharing of traditional Pirim foods was done with a Pirim basket. A basket of treats and food that was usually delivered to family, friends and the poor by children.
The three recipes we’ll explore would make a great Pirim basket and we encourage you to share during this very festive holiday.
So let’s roll up our sleeves and get started with the foundation for our two Pirim mainstays: Kreplach and Hamantaschen.
The Dough Recipe for Kreplach and Hamantaschen
This is a very simple dough recipe but it has a secret. The dough needs to be rolled out with a floured rolling-pin as thinly as possible.
Ideally the dough is so thin it’s transparent to reveal the secret and wonderful fillings inside. As a result you may need to lift the lid on your bread machine from time to time during the kneading process to make sure you have the right consistency.
We’ll be using the “pizza dough” cycle on our machines. If you don’t have a pizza dough cycle you can use the dough cycle but cut it short after the kneading process. There’s no need for this dough to rise (and it won’t because there’s no yeast) and a standard dough setting has a rising cycle after kneading.
We’ll get into more detail about rolling, cutting and shaping the Kreplach and Hamantaschen as we get into the details of the recipe.
Kreplach and Hamantaschen Dough Recipe:
(Makes about 18 Kreplach)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- Place all ingredients in the bread pan in the order indicated and select the “Pizza dough” setting. This setting does not have a standard rise cycle and simply mixes and kneads the dough and warms it a bit. If the dough in the bread pan is too dry, add a teaspoon of ice water at a time until you get a firm, dough consistency. If you don’t have the pizza setting select the dough setting, just cut it short after the knead cycle. When the cycle is done, dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll as thinly as possible with a floured rolling pin.
- Remember, a very thin dough is a signature of a great Kreplach or Hamantaschen. Ideally the dough should be almost transparent. The tradition is that this will reveal the secrets inside. Won Ton skins have this characteristic.
- Once the dough is rolled out, cut circles with a cookie cutter or a glass about 3 inches in diameter.
- You then top with the filling and fold it into a triangular shape making sure to tightly seal the corners. The filling can vary from savory to sweet. The traditional Kreplach is savory with a meat, potato or cheese filling while the Hamantaschen are filled with sweet fillings.
Here are the recipes for each filling:
Kreplach Meat Filling Recipe:
- 1 onion, diced
- 1tablespoon oil
- 1cup ground beef
- 1teaspoon pepper
- 1teaspoon salt
- 1teaspoon Hungarian paprika
- 1teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon of breadcrumbs
- Sauté onion. Then brown the meat about 5 minutes. Remove and cool.
- After meat and onion mix is cooled, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, egg, and bread crumbs and mix well. Add 1 tablespoon of filling on a dough circle.
- Fold dough over meat mixture into dumpling like triangles. Moisten the edges of the dough with the top of your finger dipped in cold water to keep seams closed. Boil for 20 minutes until they float to the top and serve in soup or as a side dish. Or you can deep fry until golden brown (about 4 to 6 minutes) and serve as side dish with sour cream on the side.
Kreplach Potato Filling Recipe:
- 3 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups onions, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon light olive vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
- 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Flour for dusting
- Put the potatoes, garlic, and 2 teaspoons salt in a medium-large saucepan.
Add 2 quarts of cold water and bring to a boil. Cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving about ½ cup cooking liquid. While the potatoes are cooking, in a heavy 9-to10-inch skillet, sauté the onions in 2 Tablespoons butter and 1 Tablespoon oil over medium heat, lifting and tossing them, until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Mash the potatoes until smooth. Return the potatoes to the saucepan.
- With the heat on low, whisk in the fried onions and all of the cooking oil and butter, the remaining 1 Tablespoon butter, and the chives. Season well with salt and pepper. Let cool, then refrigerate until cold.
- Place 1 full Tablespoon of potato/onion filling in the center of the Kreplach circle. With water, lightly moisten the surface of the wrapper all around the filling. Now bring up the sides of the wrapper, pleating the edges as necessary, so that they completely surround the filling. The finished Kreplach will appear like a little open package, surrounding the potato stuffing. The stuffing should be visible close to or at the top of the sack.
- Boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until the Kreplach floats and add to soup or deep fry in oil for 4 to 6 minutes until golden brown.
Kreplach Cheese Filling Recipe:
This recipe is baked rather than boiled or fried. The cheese could simply run out in boiling water or in hot oil.
- 1/4 pound of cottage cheese
- 1/4 pound of cream cheese, softened
- 1egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Preheat oven to 350° F./175° C. Combine all filling ingredients. Set aside.
- Put 1 tablespoon of filling on each Kreplach round and fold and pinch edges.
- Place Kreplach on greased sheet, and bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
This is a variation on Kreplach but it’s more of a cookie in a triangular shape and filled with sweet fillings. These are traditionally baked.
Hamantaschen Lemon Filling Recipe:
(You can substitute a fruit jelly or preserve like apricot or strawberry preserves if you don’t want to fuss with the lemon curd)
- large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- Zest (grated outer peel) of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- In a double boiler, combine the whole eggs, egg yolk, and sugar. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir. Cook the curd uncovered over simmering water, stirring occasionally, until a thick mixture is formed, about 25 minutes. Be patient and do not stir too much. If the water in the double boiler boils too fast, turn down the heat. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk in the butter in small pieces.
- Cool for 5 minutes and then cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. To use immediately, place the bowl of lemon curd in a larger bowl containing about 2 inches of ice and 1 cup of cold water. Let the smaller bowl sit in the ice for 15 minutes and the curd will be ready to use. Preheat the oven to 350° F./175° C.
- Spoon a tablespoon of the lemon curd into a Kreplach circle and pinch the edges to make a triangular shape. Place the Kreplachs on a oiled cookie sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges have browned.
Hamantaschen Poppyseed Jelly Filling Recipe:
- ¾ cup poppy seeds
- 2 tbsp. butter
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 6 tbsp. sugar
- 1 egg
- Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar and honey and simmer over a low flame until the sugar is melted. Pour half the mixture into a cup.
- Very slowly drizzle the hot mixture into the beaten egg, whisking constantly.
- Slowly pour the egg mixture back into hot mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly. Simmer the mixture for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat. Whisk in the poppy seeds and refrigerate until fully cooled before using.
- Drop 1 tablespoon of the poppyseed filling onto the dough circle and fold into a triangular shape. Preheat oven to 350° F./175° C. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until corners are browned.
Challah Bread Recipe:
(Makes one 2-pound loaf)
- 1 1⁄2 cups water (110° F./45° C)
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 1⁄8 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄3 cup oil
- 4 1⁄4 cups bread flour
- 1⁄2 cup white or brown sugar
- 1tablespoon active dry yeast
For the glaze and topping if you like:
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- Sesame seeds or poppy seeds
- Place the water, egg yolks, salt oil, flour, sugar and yeast in the bread pan in the order indicated in the recipe. Select the dough cycle. Preheat the oven to 350°F./175° C.
- Divide the dough in half. And then divide again until you have 12 equal sized chunks of dough. Roll each section into a long strand. I usually try for 20 to 24 inches because it will shorten as you braid the bread.
- Place all 12 of the strands next to each on an oiled baking sheet and begin with the strand on the far left and fold it over the other 11 strands.
- Grab the strand on the far right and fold it over the opposite way. Move towards the next long strand on the left and continue and repeat back and forth.
- When all twelve strands have been overlaid over each other repeat the process. Pinch the base of the strands. Place on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet and braid the dough by laying over each other -one strand at a time.
- Let the Challah rise, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes. Brush the Challah with the beaten egg. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, the poppy seeds, or a combination of both. You can also bake it plain.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 350°F./175° C. or until brown. Let it rest and served or after cooling, wrap in plastic wrap and save at room temperature until you’re ready to eat.