Monday, March 17, 2008
Eine Rose mit eine andere Füllung
Some of you may recall the Great Poppyseed Hamantaschen Craving of 2005-6. Those were dark days: Barcelona while culinarily plentiful in many ways, is severely lacking in the poppyseed department). Poppyseeds and especially poppyseed-filled desserts are easily found अरेin the Vaterland (though I've yet to find a match for the Eastern Market bakery poppyseed hamantaschen (with just a hint of almond extract in the crust) -- alas the market burned down a year or two ago!) Anyway, with Purim taking place this week, I had hamantaschen on the brain and was really excited to spy these cookies in a bakery in Essen last weekend. They looked exactly like my beloved hamantaschen, but I couldn't be sure of the filling? Prune or Poppyseed?! They turned out to be filled with a date-marzipan mixture, which although delicious, is no match for the concentrated nutty poppyseediness of poppyseed filling (to be honest, the crust in this cookie is just a vehicle for the filling). Despite Hamantaschen's German name (meaning Haman's pockets), these were labeled as Kapuziner as in the Capuchin order of monks (and nuns, I think???) just like cappuccino, both so named for their supposed similiarity in shape to the Capuchin monk's hoods. Wikipedia says that the name Hamantaschen is popularly believed to be "a reference to Haman ... the villain of Purim, as described in the Book of Esther. A more likely source of the name is a corruption of the Yiddish word מאן־טאשן (montashn) or the German word mohntaschen, both meaning poppyseed-filled pouches. Over time, this name was transformed to hamantashen, likely by association with Haman." In any case, if you want to be cool, and you can limit yourself to a single cookie, you should refer to it as a hamantasch (the hamantaschen is plural)...just in case you are celebrating Purim with some German grammar fanatics.