In keeping with the spirit of Purim, perhaps the most irreverent of Jewish holidays, the Chabad of the East Valley’s CTeen program is going to bake what it is dubbing “America’s Largest Hamantash” on Feb. 27. Though Jewish News was unable to confirm if the hamantashen will be the largest in the U.S., with an estimated cooked weight of at least 11 pounds, it’s safe to say it will be one huge pastry.
Rabbi Tzvi Rimler, associate and teen rabbi for Chabad of the East Valley, said that many CTeen events involve cooking and cooking competitions.
“A lot of our events involve food, which is probably very typical because we’re
Jewish,” Rimler said with a chuckle. “However, our teens are not content with just sitting and eating; they want to have a challenge.”
Some of the recent food-based competitions included a latke cook-off, a smoothie challenge and a caramelized-apple challenge.
“In light of all that’s going on across the world, we thought that maybe a more unifying activity would be better,” Rimler said. “And what’s more unifying than everybody working together on one big masterpiece?”
Erin Wilkens, a board member for the Chandler Jewish Preschool, which shares space with Chabad, will be in charge of the technical aspects of the hamantashen’s preparation and baking.
“I was brought on as a consultant and apparently am taking a bigger and bigger role as the days go on,” Wilkens said.
She said they plan to use a dozen eggs, four pounds of flour and plenty of jam for the hamantashen. She explained that they are planning to bake the hamantashen from 90 minutes to two hours.
“To put that into perspective, a normal hamantashen cooks for about 20 minutes on a sheet with 30 other hamantashen,” Wilkens said. “This is definitely significantly longer, but we kind of have to treat it like a big pie because the outside might cook before the inside cooks. We’re going to protect the outside and cover it with foil so that the center has a chance to cook, and then un-foil it and hope that it doesn’t burn.”
When completed, she estimates the hamantashen will be at least 3 feet long on each side.
Elizabeth Montoya, assistant public relations manager for Guinness World Records North America, found no entries for the largest hamantashen category after searching their database. She stated that the largest biscuit, a related category, measured 8,120 square feet and was made by the Immaculate Baking Company in Flat Rock, North Carolina, on May 17, 2003. The largest chocolate chip cookie on record weighed 18 tons and had a diameter of 101 feet.
According to a Jerusalem Post article published on March 13, 2006, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces and Angel Bakeries teamed up to create what they claimed was the largest hamantashen ever produced, weighing in at a staggering 1,433 pounds. The recipe called for 400 eggs, 440 pounds of flour and 264 pounds of margarine.
As for the local Purim treat, Rimler said the plan is to mix and prepare the hamantashen on the evening of Feb. 27 at the Pollack Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Chandler. The next day, they will carefully transport the hamantashen to La Bella Pizzeria and Restaurant in Phoenix for baking.
On Feb. 29, the hamantashen will be served at Chabad of the East Valley’s Purim in India event. JN