Hamantaschen Season at the Bakehouse

Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews

The very popular Purim pastry and a donation to Ukraine relief

If you didn’t already know, Erev Purim starts on the evening of Monday, March 6. Although the actual holiday is only that evening and the following day, the truth is that Hamantaschen taste great any time! They’ve been Paul Saginaw’s favorite pastry for as long as I can remember!

If you don’t know it, Purim is the Jewish holiday that celebrates the occasion of the Persian Jews outwitting the wicked minister Haman who was out to annihilate them. Haman was going to have all the Jews put to death, but the Jewish uncle of the queen (whose name was Mordechai) found out about Haman’s evil intentions and passed word to his niece (Queen Esther), who in turn told the King, who decided to put Haman to death instead of the Jews. The triangular shape was said to be taken from the tricorn hat that Haman wore. An alternative origin story is that they were made by central European Jews based on the German mohntaschen—“mohn” means “poppyseed,” “tasch” means “pocket.”

Like many Jewish holidays, Purim is a tale of impending tragedy that is turned into salvation. The Purim story—where the wicked minister almost comes out on top but ends up losing seemed fitting for what we hope will happen in Ukraine this year. From which we decided to donate from the sale of each Hamantaschen to humanitarian relief funds for the millions of innocent victims of the violence in Ukraine. Haman and Vladimir Putin are hardly the same person, and the Purim story is not the same as that of the horrific Russian invasion of Ukraine, but in both cases, a single leader with evil intentions assumes the power to destroy the lives of so many others. In the Purim story, the “happy” ending is that Haman’s efforts were stopped and the Jews of ancient Persia were saved. In Ukraine, many thousands have already died and the destruction is beyond what I can imagine, and, unlike the Purim story, there’s not yet any end in sight. A year ago, out of despair at being unclear on what we could do from so far away, I wrote this piece about applying the revolution of dignity—honoring Ukraine’s ejection of the Russian-sponsored leader in 2014—to our daily lives here in the safety of southeastern Michigan.

Hamantaschen, if you don’t already know them, are beautiful little triangularly shaped, all-butter cookie dough crust pockets stuffed with an array of fillings: cream cheese (from the Creamery) and vanilla bean, apricot, Hungarian prune with walnuts, and Paul’s top pick—Dutch poppy seed. All are excellent. Aside from just eating them as is, the Roadhouse is making a Hamantaschen Sundae—a scoop of the Creamery’s great vanilla bean gelato, topped with an apricot hamantaschen (like Haman’s hat), and drizzled with some delicious chestnut honey! It’s a Jewish tradition to bring gifts at Purim, so a box of Hamantaschen dropped off at the office or your neighbor’s house would be a great way to do that. We happily ship Hamantaschen all over the country, so place your holiday orders soon to get them there before Purim!