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Hamentaschen are triangular pastries traditionally eaten on Purim, a Jewish holiday coming up this Sunday. It’s common to see poppy seed or prune filling, though I use unsweetened jelly to fill these gluten-free hamentaschen.
Purim commemorates how Queen Esther saves the Jewish people in ancient Persia from Haman’s plot to destroy them (Haman was an advisor to the King, Ahashveros). Some of the main rituals of this holiday are to recite Megillat Esther (the Scroll of Esther) in a public gathering, distributing Mishloach Manot (gift baskets filled with food), giving charity to the poor (Mattanot Le-evyonim), and having a celebratory meal (Seudat Purim).
A more modern tradition (at least since the 15th century) is dressing up in costumes, my kids favorite part of the holiday. And of course there is always delicious traditional foods to look forward to.
“Summing up the Purim holiday: They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.” Rabbi Shraga Simmons.
Read a 30 – Second history at Aish.com.
I read through numerous hamentaschen recipes to figure out a gluten-free version I liked. Many gluten free flour blends use lots of refined starches and gums that I try to avoid – and many gluten-free recipes rely on refined sugars to achieve a good texture. (Read my post about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and avoidance of starches to heal digestive issues).
I’ve been baking with blanched almond flour for some time but have started experimenting with adding sprouted brown rice flour ever since I found it late last year. I’m really liking the combination of the almond flour with the sprouted rice flour, it gives the dough a flakiness that you can’t get with almond flour alone. I’ve also used this blend with gluten-free brownies that come out delicious.
After much tweaking this is what I came up with. I may try different ratios of almond flour to rice flour or use arroworoot next time. Please leave your own suggestions in the comments if you make these cookies.
You can use all almond flour if you like, though the sprouted brown rice flour adds a flakiness you cannot get with almond flour alone. For a dairy- free version use coconut oil.
1 stick organic butter (8 tablespoons) at room temperature
2 tablespoons *powdered palm sugar, maple sugar, or other natural sweetener (use 3 tablespoons if you like a sweeter dough)
1 organic egg – preferably from pastured poultry
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
zest of one orange (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups blanched almond flour
1/3 cup sprouted brown rice flour
Unsweetened apricot and raspberry preserves, or your own filling.
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking pans with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until combined. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix for one minute.
3. Add the zest (if using) and dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until combined into a uniform dough.
4. **Roll 1-2 tablespoons of dough into a ball and then flatten them into round disks (1/8 inch thick) on the prepared baking pan. Repeat for all the dough.
5. Spoon a teaspoon of filling at the center of each round and fold the sides of the dough to form a triangle making sure the corners are well attached.
6. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and allow to cool on a rack.
*To make powdered palm sugar, pulse the granules in a blender or food processor until a powder is achieved.
** The dough works better using this technique I learned from Elana Amsterdam of rolling pieces of dough into 1 inch balls rather then rolling it out and slicing the dough withcookie cutters. Her book, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, has a recipe for a dairy-free all almond flour hamentaschen that I’ve used in the past.
Hamentaschen around the Web;
Queen of Purim Carnival? Why, Middle Eastern Food, Of Course – LA Times
Modern Flavors Transform a Purim Tradition – New York Times
Poppy Seeds Rolls – Giving New Life to a Purim Tradition – The Jew and the Carrot
Don’t Be Krull – What Sephardim and Italian Jews ate before there was Hamentaschen – Gil Marks
The Great Hamentaschen Challenge-What is your Best Filling Idea? – Beyond Brisket – Jewish Food Talk with Jayne Cohen
Almond Flour Hamentaschen Recipe – Comfy Belly