It is March and that means Purim is coming. You do not have celebrate Purim to love these cookies. Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.
Here is a link to the story in more detail...PURIM
The cookies have a three pointed shape to imitate the shape of the villain's hat of the holiday...Haman...
I make up little bags of these and give them away to friends.
This is so far my favorite recipe for Hamantaschen, it comes from Marcy Goldman's "A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking". It reminds me of the ones we got from the bakery as a little girl.
The dough mixes up very soft and I think it needs to spend a little time in the fridge. In fact I most often make up the dough the night before baking and park it in the refrigerator overnight.
The dough needs to come to room temp before rolling. My family loves these with jam best. I use either Hero or Bonne Maman Raspberry Jam with seeds and Apricot as well. They are also great filled with Nutella. They are traditionally made with a prune or poppy seed filling or a cooked apricot filling like the one posted below.
Sometimes the cookies do open up when baking...it just takes practice. I usually chill the cookies after they are filled and shaped for about 20 minutes or so before baking and that seems to help.
I use a cutter with a fluted edge, but that is not necessary....
adapted from Marcy Goldman
" A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking"
This dough, made with shortening and butter, yields a light, cookie-like pastry similar to the hamantaschen you might find in a commercial bakery. If you require a dairy free dough, simply use all shortening or non-dairy margarine.
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup unsalted butter or unsalted margarine
11/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup milk or orange juice ( I use milk)
11/2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups (approx.) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
21/2 tsp. baking powder
filling(s) Nutella, Good Quality Raspberry or Apricot Jam or any favorite jam you have, prune or apricot filling, poppy seed filling....
sugar (regular or coarse) for dusting (optional)
Cream the shortening and sugar. Add eggs and blend until smooth. (If mixture is hard to blend or seems curdled, add a bit of the flour to bind it).
Stir in orange juice or milk and vanilla. Fold in flour, salt, and baking powder and mix to make a firm but soft dough. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat into a smooth mass. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Divide dough into two or three flattened disks. Work with one portion at a time. Wrapped in plastic, dough can be refrigerated for 2-3 days. If refrigerating, allow dough to warm up before rolling out. For frozen pastries, bake without defrosting.
Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough on lightly floured board to a thickness of 1/8 in. Use a 3 in. cookie cutter and cut into rounds. Brush rounds with egg wash. Fill with a generous teaspoonful of desired filling. Draw three sides together into center. Grasp perimeters of circle with your first, second and third fingers and pull inward. You should now have a three-cornered or triangular pastry. Essentially, fold two sides towards the center to form a triangle top. Fold up the remaining dough towards the center to meet the other edges of the touch.
Brush pastries with egg wash. If desired, sprinkle with regular or coarse sugar and bake until golden brown, about 18-25 minutes. Recipe doubles well. About 4-6 dozen pastries.
Apricot Hamantaschen Filling
Use California apricots for best results. Turkish apricots will also work nicely.
3/4 cup water orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2-3 cups dried apricot halves
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup yellow raisins
1 cup walnuts (optional)
Place water (or orange juice), lemon juice, apricots, sugar and raisins in a saucepan and combine over low heat. Toss and stir often, 8 to 12 minutes. Add water if mixtures appears to be drying or thickening too quickly.
Remove saucepan from stove and let mixture cool for about 5 minutes. Place mixture in a food processor and add walnuts (if using). Process to make a paste. Add additional water or orange juice if mixture requires thinning. Taste mixture and add additional sugar (a tablespoon at a time) if required. (Refrigerate up to two weeks or freeze up to six months).
If chilled filling is too stiff to spread, loosen with some warm water or juice. Enough to fill 4-6 dozen hamantaschen.
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