PHOTO: Many restaurants and bakeries are selling hamantashen for Purim. This year, Jacob and Son's has some unconventional flavors: dark chocolate orange, marionberry with chocolate and hazelnut, sour cherry cheesecake and Meyer lemon-spiked poppy seed with black sesame.
BY KERRY POLITZER
While some of us look forward to dressing up during Purim, others can’t wait to load up on prune or poppy seed hamantashen. This year, there are even more flavors to choose from. (See below for 70 years of hamantashen backing at Shaarie Torah; the story appeared in the Feb. 1 Jewish Review).
For those of you who don’t want to stray too far from traditional fillings, Sweet Lorraine’s Latkes & More (Eats on Albina, the Lot South of 4631 N Albina, email@example.com) plans to reprise their poppy seed hamantashen from last year “They were a big hit,” says co-owner Rachel.
Café at the J (6651 SW Capitol Hwy., 503-535-3630) will also be offering the triangular treats in the familiar flavors as well as in chocolate and raspberry.
KashRootz Catering, under the supervision of Oregon Kosher, will have homemade hamantashen available in chocolate, apricot and raspberry for pickup March 5 at Congregation Kesser Israel. Preorder by March 3 on the hamantashen order form. Email Kashrootzcatering@gmail.com for more information.
The popular Jacob and Sons deli (337 NW Broadway, 503-535-3630) is bursting with new ideas. They’ll be offering boxes of hamantashen in four flavors: dark chocolate orange, marionberry with chocolate and hazelnut, sour cherry cheesecake and Meyer lemon-spiked poppy seed with black sesame. A box of four hamantashen goes for $15, and if you can’t decide which flavor to try, you can order a box with one of each.
When asked for the story behind his unorthodox flavors, co-owner Noah Jacob admits that hamantashen have never been his favorite Jewish pastry. He wanted to come up with alternatives to the flavor profiles of poppy, prune and apricot. The deli conducted many taste tests, finally settling on the four unique flavors.
“Like most things relating to Jewish food, so much is about sense memory, so I felt like even if we made the best prune hamantashen ever, (they) still would be in direct comparison to every single other hamantashen that our customers have ever eaten,” he says. “I felt like with hamantashen, unlike with other items that we stay closely true to traditional preparations, we had an opportunity to make them however we like them best.”
“Because the cookies are inherently thick and doughy, we wanted the fillings to be more on the tart side,” Noah says. “We also wanted them to have a bit more depth of flavor, so we did pairings that we think create more complex and complementary flavors.”
Jacob and Sons didn’t stop at hamantashen – the deli will also be offering kreplach soup for Purim. The Portland-born Noah explains that as a child, his standard deli order was a bowl of kreplach soup and a half a pastrami on kaiser, but he could only order this during his trips to New York and Chicago. It is increasingly harder to find.
“(For) my entire life, eating kreplach has been kind of a luxury – it’s so rarely offered anymore that I always order it when I see it on a menu,” he says. “But for the past 15 years or so, I haven’t had consistent access to it.”
He always preferred his kreplach thick and doughy, as opposed to the popular thin wonton style, with filling just crumbly enough that it would spill out into the bottom of the bowl when the kreplach was cut into.
“Purim was the perfect occasion for us to start to work out our recipe here, and let me tell you – it is exactly how I remember it,” says Noah. “It brings back such intense sense memories for me that I almost got emotional eating the samples. We had originally planned to serve it just for Purim, but after tasting our final version of it, I am insisting we make it year-round, just so I can have it for lunch once a week, indefinitely.”
You can follow Jacob and Sons’ frequently updated Instagram at @jacobandsonspdx or order at jacobandsonspdx.square.site/.
Time to order hamantashen
It’s time to order your hamantashen from the Shaarie Torah Sisterhood, which has been baking the tasty treats for nearly 70 years. Hamantashen are Purim pastries traditionally filled with poppyseed or fruit filling and shaped like Haman’s tri-corner hat.
Purim, which celebrates the heroism of Esther, the queen who thwarted Haman’s plot to kill the Jews in ancient Persia, begins at sundown March 6. But the joy of the holiday begins on Feb. 20, the first day of Adar. The Talmud (Taanit 29a) states, Mishe-nichnas Adar marbim be-simcha: “From the beginning of Adar, we increase in joy.”
The fundraiser began in the 1950s when a group of Sunday school moms wanted to raise money to support the Sunday school program. In the first year, they sold 100 dozen, steadily growing to 2,550 dozen in 2020.
“I’m pretty sure that the only year we didn’t bake since the beginning was 2021 during Covid,” says Charlotte
Tevet, who chairs the effort and helps out with everything from getting donated ingredients to baking.
Back to baking last year, the sisterhood made 1,550 dozen. In 2023, the goal is 2,000 dozen. The fundraiser continues to support children's education.
Three kinds of pastries are available: fruit filled (prunes, raisins, dates, coconut, walnuts and jam), apricot filled (dried apricots and jam, NO NUTS) and Moen (poppy seed, walnuts and jam). All flavors are parve. A dozen of any flavor is $18 or three dozen for $45.
Online ordering is now open. Baking runs Feb. 12-28, with orders closing Feb. 27, 2023.
Order at cst-hamentashen.square.site/.
For questions, contact Tevet at 503-246-2458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.