Saturday, March 3, 2007

Hamentaschen - Filled Purim Cookies

Ok, I'll fess up off the bat. I do not like yeast hamentaschen doughs one little bit. They are the ubiquitous treats on the Finnish Purim table but they never cut it for me. Either they were too hard or they tasted like wannabe danish. If you like them, you should hie yourself to Moishe's Bakery in New York. Their yeast hamentashen are said to be delish. I wouldn't know from this.

Myself, I grew up with the cookie kind and am partial to apricot, lekvar (prune or "dried plums" as they are now marketed) and mohn (poppyseed) in terms of the traditional fillings and in that order. I am open to innovation including, but not limited to, wild plum (the best), mango and coconut/chocolate.

Here are two cookie-type doughs with which I've had some success. The first is milchig, the second parve. Do not refrigerate the oil dough unless you want a big mess and some hamantaschen you could use to crack nuts - or, heaven forfend, your teeth.

The first is my version of an old recipe that originally appeared in Women's Day, when bubbeh was a bocher (i.e. so long ago that it can't be remembered). If you roll the dough out, it will give a thinner, crispier cooky. If you make balls and smash them, you get the kind of hamentashen that my husband, he should live and be well, likes. Generally speaking, the less you can handle this dough, the better, as you won't need to add as much flour to keep it from sticking. Yes, you could make this parve with parve margarine and soy milk or Rich's non-dairy stuff, but it's not worth it, tastewise. Also, I hate recipes that tell you to "sift x, y, and z together, blah blah, then make a well and beat from there." Hey, it's my kitchen, I've been baking for longer than your average bear, I'll do it my way! In this particular recipe, method matters. Yes, it's potchkeyey. Yes, you have to hunt down the sifter or improvise with a strainer. But it makes a difference in how quickly the dough comes together and how little you have to work it, which in turn gives a more tender result. Ultimately, you'll do what you like. Such is life. Just don't come kvetching to me about it!

Butter Hamentaschen Dough

2 1/2 c. sifted unbleached flour
1 tblsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c. milk or milk/cream mixture
1/3 c. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest (optional)

Sift flour with baking powder, salt, and sugar. Beat egg with milk and vanilla
then mix with melted butter and pour into center of dry ingredients. Stir until a soft dough is formed. Knead a few times on a lightly floured marble slab or other work surface. Roll or pat to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles, fill, etc. If you hate rolling, take about a tablespoon of dough, roll it between your hands into a ball and flatten with a glass. Fill with between a half teaspoon and a teaspoon of your desired filling and pinch corners into a triangle. Bake on a silicone sheet or baking parchment at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 min or until slightly golden. They should not turn brown. Makes 15 to 18.

Parve Hamentaschen

3/4 cup vegetable shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking powder
1 pinch salt
2 - 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Cream together the shortening and sugar.

Add the eggs and vanilla and continue mixing. Add the baking powder,
salt and about 1 1/2 cups of flour. Slowly add enough flour
to the dough until the dough is soft and smooth, but not greasy or
sticky - between 2 and 2 1/2 cups of flour.

Cut the dough into thirds and roll out one section, about 1/8" thick
on a well-floured slab or baking board. Use a cup or a can to cut approximately
3" circles. Bake on a silpat (silicone baking sheet) or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Place in a preheated 350ยบ oven for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Makes 32-38 cookies


cadbury_vw said...

ok, that'll be another hour on the elliptical...


i think i'll make them for the kids

SignGurl said...

I look forward to learning about different foods from you. The foods you eat are so exotic/ethnic compared to my bland diet.

*S* said...

Heh. I'm just an old school cheapskate. I also don't have picky kids to try and satisfy - my DH will eat almost anything I will, with the exception of chopped liver.


Jayne Cohen said...

I am also from the cookie dough/make-balls-and-smash-them hamantasch school. Less handling that way, since you don't have to reroll the scraps. For Purim 2008, I invite all hamantaschen lovers to enter my contest for best filling-–details at I’ll send the winner a copy of my new book, Jewish Holiday Cooking: A Food Lover’s Classics and Improvisations. Hope you can join–Jayne