What could be better than a “shikker challah,” a challah infused with alcohol, to fulfill the Talmudic opinion of Rava: “One must drink on Purim until that person cannot distinguish between cursing Haman and blessing Mordechai.” (Megillah 7b)
I substitute rum for the arak in a recipe often used by Jewish communities from Greece, Morocco, and Turkey. With some poppy seeds thrown into the mix, its Purim authenticity increased. (There is a play on the Yiddish word for poppy seed, mohn, and the name, Haman.)
Shaping the dough into triangle forms, like hamantaschen, works, too. Not only does this combination of liquor and poppy honor Purim, it blends Sephardi and Ashkenazi traditions.
It’s Adar. Time to be happy with a challah.
Some ideas for shaping (I fashioned each of these from the one batch of dough):
1. Form the dough into triangles and top with poppy seeds
2. Divide the dough into equal parts for braids by weight. Flatten each braid with a rolling pin and place a tablespoon or so of filling onto each and then tightly roll up to form each strand. Braid as usual.
3. Halve the dough into same sized rounds. Place bottom into round pan. Layer with poppy seed filling. Place second round of dough on top of filling, allowing the filling to “leak” to form a smiley face. Then twist a braid around the top edge of the circle.