Purim will be here in a few days and I have had numerous request for my Hamanaschen recipe. Rather than refer you to search the archives of my blog, I am posting the entry again. No searching necessary will give you no excuses for not trying this classic recipe.
If you are not in the mood to make them, stop by the bakery and pick up a few.
Purim is the springtime Jewish festival celebrating the Jews freedom from persecution. King Ahashuerus was almost tricked by his advisor Haman to annihilate the Jews of Persia. Esther, who became his new queen and her uncle Mordecai, the new advisor, helped the King save their people. Haman and his followers were sent to the gallows. The tradition of making hamantaschen has continued throughout Jewish history and they are meant to be shared with family and friends. They are called shalach mones, which is the Yiddish expression for the giving or sharing of food. Shaped into triangles to signify the hat of Haman, these little cakes or cookies can be stuffed with a poppy seed, prune or fruit filling. I add orange juice for the steaming of the dried prunes and raisins, a touch of cinnamon, and of course vanilla.
My granddaughters, Sammijo, Lilli and Chloe, always remind me when the holiday is coming. I love that they continue the family heritage of their great-grandmother Margaret and me, using the family recipe to bake their hamantaschen at home. They fill them with Sarabeth's Peach-Apricot Spreadable Fruit.
Makes 30 cookies (hamantaschen)
BAKERS NOTE: This dough is the same dough used for the mandelbrot in a previous post. It is a very easy dough to work with and I always use this recipe in the bakery to make our hamantaschen. Make the filling first and then refrigerate to chill. Do not put warm filling in the cold cookie rounds.
makes 3 cups
16 ounces soft, dried-pitted, prunes, fine quality
8 ounces seedless raisins
3/4 cups orange juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Combine the prunes, raisins, and orange juice in a medium- sized saucepan and cook on a medium low flame, stirring with a silicon spatula, about 10 minutes. Add the cinnamon and sugar, reduce the heat to low., and simmer until soft, an additional 10-15 minutes.
2. Let cool to room-temperature and place in a food processor with the blade attachment Pulse until almost smooth. Store in refrigerator until you are ready to fill the hamantaschen. You will have a little more than you need, about 3/4 cup. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 1 month. Try it with your favorite morning muffin.
Makes 30 hamantaschen
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, divided and beaten
4 cups unbleached all- purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup orange juice
1. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer with the paddle attachment on medium high speed until the butter is smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar in two additions and beat, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Gradually add 2 eggs and the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture to the mixer in two additions, alternating with the orange juice. Mix just until the dough clumps together and the sides of the bowl are almost clean.
2. Gather up the dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Knead a few times until smooth. Divide the dough in half and shape each portion into a 1 inch thick rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (The dough can be refrigerated up to 1 day, but it will be very hard, and should stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling out. The dough can also be frozen, double wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight. You can make both, or you can save one for another time.
3. Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350º F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper or silpat baking mats.
4. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly flour the work surface. Unwrap the dough and rap the edges on the work surface (to help avoid cracking during rolling). Place the dough on the work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle. Using a 3 3/4 inch-diameter fluted cutter, cut out the circles and place them on the pan. Separate the layers with parchment paper so they do not stick to one another. Continue rolling and cutting out the circles until all the cookies has been rolled out. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Use a small pastry brush to egg wash the edge of each circle. (This will help keep the hamantaschen from opening while they are baking.) Using a 1 1/4 -inch diameter ice cream scoop ( about 1 well-rounded teaspoon) place the prune filling in the center of the rounds. Fold the dough into triangles (see photos below) and place on a the prepared pans. Bake until golden brown about 25-30 minutes. Bake the hamantaschen, switching the position of the baking pans from top to bottom and front to back, until they are lightly browned. Cool on the tray.