For as long as I have been an adult Jew with an apartment of my own, I have had this fantasy of having a Purim dinner party. I’m not a very religious person, but Purim always struck me as greatly underleveraged. It involves kings and queens and costumes and puppets and I know if the Christians got a hold of Purim, it would be the most fantastically commercialized holiday since Christmas.
Except every year, I forget Purim is coming up on the calendar, until the actual day when Mike (who knows all about Purim themed dinner party dreams) takes great pleasure in announcing “It’s Purim! There’s always next year!” It’s our running joke.
This year I almost fell into the same trap, except I remembered about three days beforehand. Not enough time to plan a fancy dinner party, but certainly enough time to plan a play date with Seri (aka Little Miss Party) for our Project Play Date series.
If we had more time, we would have dressed the kids up like royalty and filled the hamantaschen with Nutella, but Seri and I had to think fast and make due with whatever she had in her house.
We pulled it off, but it was definitely no Christmas.
We used a recipe from our friend Deb at Smitten Kitchen (because who would make better hamantaschen than Deb?) and made our own dough, which was pretty easy. Once the dough was made, we let the kids do most of the work.
They started by rolling out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Harlow wore a very festive pirate hat for the occasion.
The recipe called for a round cookie cutter, so we improvised with the lid of a mason jar.
Harlow’s favorite part was spooning the filling in the center. We used raspberry jam but next year, I’m opting for Nutella.
Mazzy asked to make hers plain because she is the pickiest eater alive— even when it comes to cookies. She also kept eating the flour which was super weird.
Next, you need to fold the dough to form three sides. This was probably the most fun part for the kids. It’s important to firmly crimp the corners and give them a little twist to ensure they stay closed, leaving the filling mostly open in the center.
Then we bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper until golden brown, about 20 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time to get started on our puppet craft.
CRAFT: WOODEN SPOON Puppets
Purim is often celebrated with skits and puppet shows depicting the story of the holiday, which revolves around Queen Esther, who is secretly Jewish and persuades the king to save the Jewish people from an evil man named Haman. We found this easy craft project making Purim puppets using wooden spoons.
What you will need:
-some wooden spoons
-cardboard, construction paper, yarn, curling ribbon, pipe cleaners, pompoms, sequins or anything else that can be used for crowns, beards, hair and clothing
What to do:
It depends how close you want your kids to create characters that resemble the ones in the Purim story. I created spoon puppets that could VERY LOOSELY stand in for Queen Esther, Haman and King Achashverosh to show the girls as examples. It’s somewhat upsetting that in my efforts to make my spoon look like a girl, Esther ended up looking like a blow-up doll. But Mordechai looks like a clown, so all things equal.
I showed the girls my puppets and pre-cut some crowns and beards, but then let them do whatever they wanted.
At least, Mazzy’s Esther looks a little more respectable than mine.
All crafts must be accompanied by a cocktail for the grown-ups. That is the first rule of Project Play Date. We incorporated apples because Seri said they have Purim significance. I thought that was Rosh Hashanah but maybe it’s both? No matter, they were delicious.
What you will need:
-1 1/2 ounces vodka
-1 ounce green apple schnapps
-1/4 ounce lemon juice
What to do:
1) Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
2) Shake well.
3) Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4) Keep out of reach from the kids.
Happy Purim! Next year— fancy dinner party at my place!