An allergy-free Purim

Mark Mietkiewicz
Mark Mietkiewicz

The Jewish Internet With Mark Mietkiewicz, Special To The Dayton Jewish Observer

“The other day someone asked what my plans are for Purim. I think, like every other parent of food-allergic children, my heart skipped a beat and sunk to my feet. Not this time of year again!” writes Sara Atkins. “Purim should be filled with fun, excitement, and laughs, but for a family dealing with food allergies, it’s pure fear.”

But Atkins explains how with preparation and some clever food substitutions she transforms Purim into a holiday her children look forward to (

Debbie N. faced a different challenge: how to bake up a batch of low-carb hamantashen without artificial sweeteners that will be safe and appealing to a child with diabetes. The problem with hamantashen is that they deliver the carbs but “they don’t have enough fiber or protein to slow down the sugars and avoid a spike in blood glucose. In short, not high-quality nutrition.” After coming upon some unsatisfactory solutions she found one that makes sense: substituting almond meal for some or most of the flour. Check out her blog for dough and Debbie’s tricks to stretch those carbs (

As for the filling, Nancy Pascal says, “Low carb jam works well and tastes delicious. Sugar-free chocolate chips are very good when hot, but not as delightful when cold, so you can try placing the hamantashen in the microwave for a few seconds before eating (”

“Here it is…the allergy free, awesome, delicious, contemporary-flavored hamantashen recipe just in time for today’s holiday of Purim.” With an introduction like that, Rachel better have something good and different. Her Lemon Hamantashen are a little bit funky and call for a half block of silken tofu. Rachel adds, “don’t be afraid, trust me, you’ll never know (”

Rachel’s recipe calls for flour, which of course, is a showstopper for anyone with celiac disease, an intolerance to gluten. That’s where Nancy Lapid comes in with not one but six gluten-free hamantashen recipes including a dairy variation that calls for butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and an optional egg (

No eggs? No problem. According to the Allergy Shmallergy site, here’s your substitution for two eggs: “1/4 cup applesauce and 11/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer combined with 2 Tbsp. water or soy milk (”

Leslie Shupak’s No Egg Hamantashen takes more of a minimalist approach and sticks to the basics: flour, baking powder, salt, margarine, sugar, water and vanilla extract (

Here’s the ultimate challenge: a grain-free hamantash. Is such a thing possible? Absolutely, if you follow Jill Tieman’s Real Food Forager blog. She uses coconut and almond flour so her pastries are grain-free, ghee and coconut oil instead of butter to keep it dairy-free, and dates for taste. Jill concludes, “These small treats are truly irresistible (”

Aside from hamantashen, you should also take into consideration food allergies and sensitivities as you pack up the mishloach manot gift baskets or plan your menu for the seudah, the festive meal eaten at the end of the holiday. Here’s a discussion with menu ideas if certain foods are off limits:

Mark Mietkiewicz may be reached at

To read the complete March 2014 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

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