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Hamentashen

Today is the Jewish festival of Purim. One of the customs associated with Purim is the eating of hamentashen — triangular pastries with a sweet filling. (The word is probably Yiddish for “Haman’s pockets”, where Haman is the bad guy in the events commemorated by the festival; in Hebrew they’re called אוזני המן oznei haman, or “Haman’s ears”.)

I’m a big fan of hamentashen. They’re usually (though not universally) made with a poppy-seed filling, and, well, poppy seeds are just delicious. We’d always get some for Purim when I was a kid, and once I left home, my parents started getting some extra and keeping them for me. But that’s now looking a little trickier, given that they’re moving up here to Edinburgh.

So it seems particularly timely that I’ve now found a bakery that makes hamentashen for Purim. A friend pointed out Falko Konditormeister to me a week or so ago, and someone else happened to mention the bakery in an email on Tuesday, with a link to Falko’s website. I looked at the site, and noticed that they make “Kosher cakes & challah”.

“Perhaps,” I thought, “they happen to make hamentashen as well.” So I popped in on the way home and asked.

“We’ll have them on Thursday,” said the chap behind the counter. “Would you like to order some?” Well, who could resist? So I ordered a dozen, and picked them up this morning.

A hamentash as made by Falko Konditormeister in Edinburgh

They’re not quite like the ones we used to get when I was growing up. Those were made with a sweet, enriched yeast dough, and fully enclosed. Falko’s hamentashen on the other hand use a firm yet cakey pastry, and are partially open at the top (all the better to show off the tempting poppy-seed filling). I suspect Falko’s are actually a closer match to what most people think of as hamentashen. I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t enjoy the pastry hamentashen as much as the ones I’m accustomed to, but I’m pleased to report that they’re delicious.

I really liked Falko’s shop: it’s full of tasty-looking bread and cakes, and the staff I’ve dealt with have been helpful and friendly. His website is fairly pretty, too. I shall certainly be visiting Falko again.