Generations Battle in Hamantaschen Bake-Off

Hamantaschen

Jewish students baking Hamantaschen at the Hebrew Institute of Far Rockaway. Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Al Barry/Three Lions/Getty Images

To kick off the celebration of Purim, BPP's executive producer Sharon Hoffman's kids challenge BPP's Laura Silver and Dan Pashman in a bake-off of biblical proportions.

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ALISON STEWART, host:

Time for the BPP Bake-off, Round Three.

(Soundbite of song "Get Ready for This)

Mr. RAY SLIJNGAARD: (singing) Y'all ready for this?

STEWART: All right, you know, we started this off "Iron Chef"-style with a battle of the desserts featuring espresso. Then on St. Patrick's Day, we did Irish soda bread. And today, well, it's Good Friday and that isn't exactly a celebratory day. But it also happens to be Purim, the Jewish holiday commemorating the story of Queen Esther, who saved the Jews of Persia from extermination.

So part of that celebration involves baked goods, specifically Hamantaschen. They are these little, triangular, fruit-filled cookies and they are delicious! Our three contestants have baked their own versions, and because we're trying to stay with our theme, our previous winner, Caitlin Scott Siobhan Kenney will not be participating because she's not really Jewish.

DAN PASHMAN: Not too much.

STEWART: In the name of authenticity, today's contenders in the Hamantaschen Bake-off are Dan Pashman, assisted by his wife Janie, who's the real baker whip here, intern Laura Silver, who's actually wearing a Hamantaschen necklace, I believe.

PASHMAN: But she does that every day.

STEWART: Yeah, I know, but today, I think I'm wondering - I'm - that it's not influencing me Laura, by the way. And our special guest bakers, Tommy and Will Hoffman, sons of executive producer, Sharon Hoffman.

PASHMAN: Nice.

STEWART: Tommy's, this many? Five?

SHARON HOFFMAN: Yes.

STEWART: And Will is how many?

Mr. WILL HOFFMAN: Eight.

STEWART: Eight? All right, so we've got the youth, the youth movement in there, too. The youths are here. Here to judge, it's me. I'm not actually Jewish, but I'm married to a member of the tribe...

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Who gave me some pointers, but I felt like I really needed help, so David Folkenflik...

DAVID FOLKENFLIK: Who am I to judge, really?

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Well, and we figured you could probably help us out.

FOLKENFLIK: Everybody's a critic.

STEWART: You're celebrating Purim today, and you're a media critic.

FOLKENFLIK: Exactly. Purim's huge! A big fan of Esther.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: And NPR's ombudsman happens to be here, so we have the domesticity highest standards, Lisa Shepard in studio as well, to make sure this goes on the up-and-up.

LISA SHEPARD: Yes, yes, and I've never even eaten this before.

STEWART: Oh, my goodness! So, oh, my - we have a Hamantaschen virgin in the house.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: OK.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHEPARD: I wish I could have said it.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: All right, first of all, I'm going to describe them. They're a little, triangular-shaped and it's - the mystery of it is it's supposed to be Haman's hat. He was the bad guy, right?

FOLKENFLIK: Oh, a very bad guy.

STEWART: Yeah, so that's why it - maybe the shape. They're filled with fruit. All right, let's try A. Lisa, you pick up A.

SHEPARD: All right. I got it.

FOLKENFLIK: Although it's also supposed to be inspired by John Adams in the colonial, you know...

SHEPARD: Yeah.

FOLKENFLIK: Colonial...

STEWART: Oh, that's the media critic in you. You've been watching HBO.

FOLKENFLIK: Oh, absolutely.

STEWART: I need one, too.

SHEPARD: This is an HBO promo?

FOLKENFLIK: No, not at all.

STEWART: Oh, she's performing her duties!

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: I did not I was going to get razzed!

(Soundbite of laughter)

FOLKENFLIK: Fact checking, Ombudsman?

STEWART: All right, so it's this smallish one.

FOLKENFLIK: The smallish one, all right.

SHEPARD: All right.

STEWART: Bon appetit. You first, David.

SHEPARD: Oh.

STEWART: I'm still going to make the decision, but I need guidance.

SHEPARD: What should we be looking for?

FOLKENFLIK: Oh, that's very nice.

STEWART: OK, according to my husband, we're supposed to be looking for a crust that is not too heavy.

FOLKENFLIK: This is not too heavy.

STEWART: And that it's the consistency, and that the filling is not too goopy.

FOLKENFLIK: It's not. It's a tasty filling in it, kind of - sometimes it's very, you know, dry and desiccated, but this is very good. Worth coming in to the studio for, is what I'm saying.

STEWART: I like this. I like that the fruit is very sweet, and then you have a nice sort of complement of the crust. Lisa?

SHEPARD: I'm going to say it's like shortbread.

STEWART: It does have a shortbread feeling. OK.

SHEPARD: Hmm, good, good.

FOLKENFLIK: OK.

STEWART: So we're going on to B. Now these are big'uns. Look at the size of these Hamantaschen!

FOLKENFLIK: That's right. You actually have the warring spit jars. You can just...

(Soundbite of laughter)

FOLKENFLIK: Halve the Hamantaschen and throw out the rest.

STEWART: I want to say Hamantaschen B fills my entire palm. That's how big this one is.

SHEPARD: So do we get a little lemon to clean our palate?

FOLKENFLIK: Oh, you're welcome to share my water if you want.

STEWART: Lisa, have you been to the New York Bureau? Do you know what we have here?

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Come on, now!

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHEPARD: All right, all right.

STEWART: All right, David, you go first.

FOLKENFLIK: Ain't that lucky? I don't know how to stick this in my mouth.

STEWART: That's kind of an issue. I know, it's a little bit large.

FOLKENFLIK: All right, you have to fight your way a little bit more to get towards the center. It's an impressive, beautiful piece. It's a little drier.

SHEPARD: Don't eat - don't talk with your mouth full.

FOLKENFLIK: I've got to talk with my mouth full! This is, you know, radio verite here!

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: I don't even know if that's your purview, Lisa.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PASHMAN: Eating with your mouth full. I mean, they've got to draw a line somewhere.

PATRICIA MCKINNEY: Contestants will not speak to the judges.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Oh, it's editor Tricia McKinney. You're right. You do have to - it takes a little while - you better like cookie, if you like this one, because you better like the crust, because you - and the crust is very, very good.

FOLKENFLIK: It's a stronger crust to filling ratio, I think, we've got going here.

SHEPARD: Right. I mean this is practically a meal.

FOLKENFLIK: It's good.

STEWART: All right.

FOLKENFLIK: It's basically the Hamantaschen you would take with you on Outward Bound, to sustain you for the day.

STEWART: I think so. Exactly.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: All right, so that - oh, that was excellent. All right, finally...

SHEPARD: I've had two bites. I haven't gotten to the middle.

STEWART: Oh, you haven't gotten to the middle yet? All right, that might...

FOLKENFLIK: Work your way.

STEWART: We might have to take that into consideration in terms of judging.

FOLKENFLIK: All right.

STEWART: And our final Hamantaschen. Let me pass one to Lisa.

SHEPARD: Thank you.

STEWART: This one has a - it looks like a prune filling, perhaps?

FOLKENFLIK: Don't answer, creator.

STEWART: No, here's the thing. Compared to - there is more fruit to crust ratio in these.

FOLKENFLIK: This is more a delicate, I'd say, operation. It seems very sensitively-rendered, you know, but of course, I haven't had any of it to eat yet, but...

STEWART: All right, try it, Mr. Folkenflik.

SHEPARD: So can the center always change? I mean, is that not consistent?

STEWART: No, it doesn't have to be. It could be any kind. It could be apricot...

FOLKENFLIK: As in politics, the center must hold.

(Soundbite of laughter)

FOLKENFLIK: That's the key thing.

STEWART: Oh, I like the taste of the center.

FOLKENFLIK: This is very good. It's a little subtler...

STEWART: Yeah?

FOLKENFLIK: Of filling I'd say, which maybe a little bit more, you know, harking to the Middle East and its derivation.

STEWART: And I think that the...

FOLKENFLIK: Oh, well, it maybe inspiration, and derivation may well be your...

STEWART: The crust is a little - it's a little less flaky, a little crispier, a little more of a hard cookie than the others.

FOLKENFLIK: A little more cookie, a little less pastry.

STEWART: All right, I know which one I'm going to pick. I know which one I'm going to pick, but I'm curious. David?

FOLKENFLIK: I'd say for Purim, I might well pick the third. I thought the first was delicious as well.

STEWART: Well, they were all delicious, OK?

FOLKENFLIK: Yeah, they were all really good.

STEWART: OK, so David is picking C.

SHEPARD: I'm going to go with A, primarily because I liked the way it tasted. C, it was more exotic and you eat it and you try to think, what is that taste I'm tasting?

STEWART: C is more exotic, B is fulfilling and actually, I think the presentation of B...

FOLKENFLIK: Astonishing.

STEWART: Was beautiful, but I'm going to go with A as well...

FOLKENFLIK: Yeah?

STEWART: Because I think it had the combination of both, and it just - they were very inviting, and it was a good balance, so editor Tricia McKinney, with 30 seconds left in the program...

SHEPARD: Dun, dun, dun.

MCKINNEY: A is Team Hoffman.

(Soundbite of applause)

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: Now Tommy, up to the mic, buddy!

Mr. TOMMY HOFFMAN: I don't want to do it!

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHEPARD: Tommy, what was the secret?

Mr. TOMMY HOFFMAN: I couldn't do it.

SHEPARD: Tommy, what's the secret?

STEWART: What's the secret? Are you excited? Are you excited?

FOLKENFLIK: Tell us all about Tom-antaschen.

STEWART: All right, we have a shy winner. Executive Producer Sharon Hoffman, are you proud of your boys?

SHARON HOFFMAN: Tommy worked very hard in this, no doubt. I have pictures to prove it. Orange juice - the secret.

SHEPARD: Oh!

STEWART: This is the BPP.

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