Tag: Jewish festival baking

Almond Macaroon Recipe for Passover

Passover Almond Macaroons

Well, what can I say about these sticky, sweet and delicious bisuits that doesn’t involve going into the complete disaster I created whilst trying to make them in a hurry! Let me start by saying they are really easy to make but I made a complete pig’s ear of it!

Anyway, let me set the scene….

On Friday night my sister hosted our family’s Seder night (which is a meal that starts the Jewish festival of Passover). We were missing a few key ingredients (namely a mum, dad, brother and his family. I imagine it’s what it feels like to have your first Christmas dinner without key people!)

Anyway, I digress…..

My sister and her husband had gone to a lot of effort with not only a cracking roast chicken dinner (OMG it was soooo good!) and she had printed off kid friendly Hagadas (the prayer book we follow through out the meal) and had props at the ready. When it came to the part when the Egyptians wouldn’t let the Israelites go and the 10 plagues are described there were flying plastic bugs (for locusts) red blobs of lipstick applied unexpectedly to my face for boils and flying teddies for wild beasts. It was brilliant.

I offered to make cinnamon balls (tomorrows recipe) and macaroons for our desert. I thought I had left plenty of time. That is the story of my life. I’m always late. Sorry Shell.

I set about making the macaroons and they looked great in the oven. I turned my back for two minutes and they burned. So the lesson here is don’t ever turn your back on a macaroon!

The next batch turned into a soggy mess in the food processor. I tried to add a bit more egg white to see if they would be fluffier – big mistake! I added more almonds and more sugar but that didn’t seem to make any difference. It was more like cake mix than a roll-able dough. The third mix was great but I was so worried that I would overcook them that I took them out of the oven a little early and had anaemic macaroons.

The thing with Macaroons is that they bake quickly and it’s a judgement call as to when they are done enough. I actually prefered the pale ones which were really soft throughout with a harder shell and were completely delicious. Beau ate practically all of the overdone ones before we have even left the house! It’s a matter of taste.

I would say that if they last longer than a day (highly unlikely!) they do get firmer in time so I would veer towards a light brown colour.

The Ingredients

(makes about 15 macaroons)

125g ground almonds

1 egg white (from a medium size egg) at room temperature

150g caster sugar

table spoon of icing sugar

15 almonds half to decorate

How to make Almond Macaroons for Passover

Heat your oven to 200°C, Gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

Chop almonds. Peseach Almond Macaroons recipe

Give the ground almonds a whiz a food processor for 10 seconds. You don’t have to do this step but it will make the texture of the macaroons even finer.

add sugar.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Add the sugar and whiz again till blended.

Add egg white.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Add the egg white and blend thoroughly. It should form wet clumps.

Roll into balls.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Roll out the macaroon balls. I like them to be quite large so they are really soft inside. Give them plenty of space to spread. About 3 cm between each one is perfect.

Flatten a little.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Flatten the balls lightly with the palm of your hand

Brush with water.Peseach Almond Macaroons

Brush each macaroon with water with damp pastry brush. Don’t over wet them.

Dust with icing sugar.Peseach Almond Macarooms

Give the macaroons a light dusting of icing sugar and top off with half an almond. Pop in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Watch them like a hawk so they don’t over bake like the ones below!

Pop them on a cooling rack till they are completely cool.

Peseach Almond Macaroons

All that’s left to say is Chag Sameach (or Happy Holidays!)


Hamantaschen recipe for Purim.

The best Hamantaschen recipe

Hamantaschen are like mini pies that Jewish people eat during the festival of Purim, which just happens to be this Wednesday. They’re one of those delicacies that my mum always makes for the community and all of the family. Each year before Purim we pick up the girls from Grandma’s after school and we collect little cling filmed wrapped paper plates full of Hamantachen. Very few actually make it through the 10 minute journey home!

When I first made Hamantaschen last year I used my mum’s pastry recipe for Kichel biscuits (I must share that recipe with you some time!) These are simple and moorish round biscuits that are perfect in my eyes. As I also use this pastry recipe for larger apple pies I thought it would be perfect for Hamantaschen. I was wrong! They were really soggy, broke the moment you touched them and just didn’t look like my mum’s!  Then she told me that she uses the Kichel Hamantaschen recipe from ‘The bible’!

The bibleThe New Complete international Jewish cook book

Unbeknownst to me ‘The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook, by Evelyn Rose published by Pavillion (see the link to Amazon on the right) is commonly known as ‘The bible’ by lots of Jewish families and not just mine! We also call it ‘The Red book’ for obvious reasons.

I was given the original version of this book (the black one) for my Bat Chayil in 1985.  (there I go giving away my age!) When the new version came out in 1992 mum bought me and my brother and sister a copy each and we’ve all been using it ever since. I’ll be doing a full review of this book later this week. It’s a great book.

So back to the Hamantaschen.

After last year’s disaster I set about making them again, only this time I used the red book’s recipe. It was a short pastry and made lovely Hamantaschen, but they weren’t the same as my mum’s which have the most delicious pastry. The kind that you don’t mind if you eat a corner of a Hamantaschen without any filling as it’s good on its own.  What I had made were crumbly and practically all of them opened up when baked- but I probably didn’t squish the pastry together well enough!

So I called my mum “What pastry do you use?” I asked. To which she replied. “I use the old book, not the new one”. They have completely different recipes.

So, off I went again. Just as I was about to start mum called me back to say that the pastry is sticky (as it uses oil not butter) and she always adds a bit more flour. I took this on board and set about with Hamantaschen Mark II. But I didn’t read the recipe properly and as I was so busy thinking about how much extra flour to put in that I accidentally added double the amount! Evelyn Rose recipes often give the either or version for flour and I missed that and added both! So what my mum said would be a sticky dough was so dry it wouldn’t bind together at all!

I was not winning!

Hamantaschen Mark III

Hamantaschen recipe

Finally success! I used the old book with the right amount of ingredients and they came out perfectly (maybe a bit puffier than I would have liked) but they tasted just like mum’s so I was finally happy and ready to share them with you…..

Hamantaschen recipe (from the old black book)

(Makes 24)

125g caster sugar

2 large eggs (put some to one side for glazing)

100ml (4 Fl oz) oil – Sunflower is best

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

150g plain flour (plus a table spoon or two more to reduce stickiness)

150g self raising flour (plus a table spoon or two more to reduce stickiness)

Filling ingredients (from the new red book)

50g raisins

225g baking apples (peeled and cored and cooked till tender)

3 tbsp walnuts (optional)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

50g brown sugar

To make the pastry

Heat the oven to 180°c, 350°F, gas mark 4. Line baking trays with baking paper.

Whisk the eggs until they are thick

Add the sugar, oil and vanilla extract and whisk again.

Stir in the flours. I added a table spoon of each flour at a time to reduce the stickiness of the dough but I think I would use more plain and less self-raising next time.

 Stir in the flour  Hamantaschen recipe

You can roll out the dough straight away but I chilled it while I got the fillings ready.

It's a sticky dough

I cheat and use tinned fruit. The apricots (in natural juice) are chopped up and sprinkled with a little sugar brown.

Tinned apricots

The apple is cubed and mixed in with the raisins, brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. I soften the raisins in the microwave by adding some water to them in a bowl and giving them a minute on full heat.

Apple filling for Hamantaschen

The dough is really stretchy so needs a little kneading before you roll it out on a floured surface. Roll the dough to a thickness of around ½ cm. If it’s too thick it won’t taste as good and if it’s too thin it will tear when you fold them up. Use a 7cm round cutter to create the circles.

Cut out circles for Hamantaschen

Fold each side over to create a triangle shape. Leave a small gap at the centre for steam to escape. Press the pastry edges together firmly so they don’t pop open in the oven.Apricot Hamantaschen

Folding apple Hamantachen

Brush the top with beaten egg to give it a nice glaze. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tops become golden.

Egg wash the Hamantaschen

Once baked, leave on a wire rack to cool. They will keep for three days in an air tight container. I had visitors yesterday after I made them and they didn’t last! I am about to have the last one with a cup of tea! I guarantee they won’t last a day!



N.B. It’s worth mentioning that these are Parve so if you keep to a kosher diet you can make these as a desert after a meat meal. Yay!

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