Purim is celebrated on the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar, the day following the victory of the Jews over their enemies. Purim is the festival that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from Haman’s plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther. According to the story, Haman cast lots to determine the day upon which to exterminate the Jews. It really does not sound much like the happiest holiday of the year, and yet it is the only Jewish holiday where you are forbidden to mourn. Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
Purim arrived two weeks after we went gluten free in 2008. On many levels, we have felt as the Jews did, like the underdog, about to be persecuted for being different. But our family has learned, as have Jews of all generations, that it is okay to stick up for yourself, it is okay to ask for foods the way you want them, and only then is it possible to eat and feel good afterwards. It still is a little weird that I do NOT have stomach aches anymore. I really noticed it the night of my Bat Mitzvah. I was nervous, I was scared, there would be 500 people listening to me chant and give a sermon, yet my stomach did NOT hurt. That is a gift and I am so grateful that through my daughter I feel like a human being again. I am proud to be different and you should be too!
Purim is associated with many commandments and rituals. The primary commandment is to hear the reading of the book of Esther, give mutual gifts of food and drink, give to the poor, and eat a celebratory meal. However, my all-time favorite part of Purim are the funny little triangle shaped cookies we get to eat to remind us of Haman, and the survival of the Jews despite his plot to get rid of them. Among Ashkenazic Jews, a common treat at this time of year is hamantashen which literally means Haman’s Pockets. These triangular fruit-filled cookies are supposed to represent Haman’s three-cornered hat. Hamantaschen are made with many different fillings, including prunes, nut, poppy seed, date, apricot, apple, fruit preserves, cherry, chocolate, dulce de leche, peanut butter, or even caramel or cheese. We made our hamantashen using raspberry jam, apricot jam and peanut butter with carob chips.
1 cup blanched almond flour
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup sweet rice flour
¼ cup tapioca flour
½ tsp xanthan gum
1 ½ tsp egg replacer with 2 T water
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 T grape seed oil
3 tablespoons agave nectar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoon water
½ tsp raspberry jam per cookie
In a large bowl, combine almond, brown rice and sweet rice flour and salt and xanthan gum.
In a smaller bowl, combine oil, agave, vanilla and water. Add egg mixture.
Mix wet ingredients into dry. Form a dough ball with your hands.
Divide dough into 18-22 round pieces.
Chill dough in refrigerator 1 hour.
Roll out each piece of dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper ¼ – ½ inch thick, shaping into circles.
Make a light indentation with your forefinger in the center of each circle.
Drop ½ teaspoon of raspberry jam (or whatever filling you are in the mood for) into the center of each circle.
Fold the dough in to create 3 sides; pinch each of the 3 corners to form a triangle shaped cookie.
Take half the cookies and bake at 350° for 20 minutes until cookies are golden brown around the edges.
Then bake the other half. Makes 18-22 cookies.