Showing posts with label Purim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Purim. Show all posts

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another Delicious Hamentaschen Recipe PLUS Super-Scientific Hamentaschen Filling Research


Happy Purim! Chag Purim Sameach! To be completely honest, I wasn't sure I'd even get around to making homemade hamentaschen this year. But there's something about this annual tradition that if missed, would make the holiday feel a little empty for me.


So I did it. But I didn't go back to one of the fantastic recipes I'd made in the past (here, here, and here). I wanted to use this once-a-year opportunity to choose a recipe from a different cookbook. So I sifted through my Jewish dessert cookbooks and decided on Gil Marks ' The World of Jewish Desserts. His dough was fantastic. Easy to work with, beautifully flecked with orange zest, and held its shape when baked.


I chose to make three fillings: apricot, chocolate, and poppy seed. But I did an interesting thing before I ended up with those filling choices. I posted an unofficial poll to my Facebook page. Apparently my friends have very strong, passionate feelings toward their hamentaschen fillings! 37 comments later, I had a fair amount of data. A couple of peculiar votes like pegasus meat, children's tears, and smaller hamentaschen (that is pure genius) made their way onto the list, but mostly it was your usual chocolate, fruit, and poppy seed filling votes.

Here's my Facebook post:


And here are the results, graphed, coming to you thanks to the Happy Go Marni Research Department:


Despite a lot of anti-poppy seed sentiment in this Facebook poll, it still ended up being the most popular filling! Apricot was extremely popular too, and without any real negative comments. Chocolate seemed like a no-brainer, but I was surprised it had so many fewer votes than poppy seed and apricot. What's wrong with you people! Why isn't chocolate number one? Ok actually, I love all three of the top winners, and those are the three I made! I think I'll save pegasus meat for another year. ;)

What's your favorite hamentaschen filling?


Hamentaschen
Adapted from a recipe by Gil Marks in The World of Jewish Desserts
Makes sixty 3-inch cookies

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice, milk, or water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract, or 1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
About 2 cups hamentaschen filling (the sky's the limits, as you can see from the Happy Go Marni poll above)
Golden Egg Wash (recipe below)
Coarse sugar for decorating, optional

Sift the dry ingredients together: the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer, beat the butter or margarine until smooth, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the liquid (orange juice, milk, or water), extract, and optional zest. On low speed, add in the flour just until combined. The dough will be soft, not too dense. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge until firm, about 2 hours. You can leave it overnight, too. When you're ready to shape the dough, remove from the fridge and let sit out a few minutes to become malleable (won't take very long because it's a soft dough).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the dough into thirds. Return the other two chunks to the fridge so they don't get too soft. With the remaining third, roll it out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured dough board or waxed paper to about 1/8 inch thick. If you prefer thicker dough, roll to about 3/8 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2 or 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles out of the dough. Save the scraps to roll out again and make more cookies.

Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each round. Bring three corners of each round up toward the top, pinching two points together to form one corner, then continuing until you have three corners. I like to leave some of the filling exposed, not only because it's pretty to see some color peeking out, but because then you'll know which filling it has if you are making more than one filling! If when you pinch the edges together they don't stick well, rub a little cold water on the dough to act as glue. Place 1 inch apart on parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheets.

Prepare Golden Egg Wash (see recipe below). Brush egg wash on all sides of each unbaked cookie with a pastry brush. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if you'd like.

Bake until golden, 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. I prefer my cookies a little chewy, so I err on the side of less baking time. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. The cookies will keep for about one week, or you can freeze them as soon as they've cooled and they'll be good for several months.


Golden Egg Wash
Recipe from my March 2010 hamentaschen post (Marcy Goldman's incredible recipe!)

1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons milk or water
Pinch of sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Use a pastry brush to glaze or brush on prepared, unbaked hamentaschen.


Step-by-Step in Pictures
Beat butter or margarine until smooth...

Add sugar and beat until incorporated...

Add the eggs, one at a time...

Add the juice, vanilla, and zest...

Add the dry ingredients (which you had sifted together first)...

Beat just until incorporated...

Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in fridge...

Roll out the dough, a third at a time...

Cut 2 1/2 or 3-inch rounds in the dough...

Add a teaspoon of filling to the center of each round and fold up the sides to form a triangle...

Continue with the remaining two-thirds of the dough and any other fillings you want to try...

Brush with Golden Egg Wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if you'd like...

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, then let cool on a rack...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Almost-Like-a-Bakery Traditional Hamantaschen


For Purim this year, I made chocolate-peanut butter hamantaschen, which you saw in my last recipe post, but I also made these more traditional ones by Marcy Goldman. That's because Purim wouldn't be complete without a little poppyseed filling and jam filling. Plus, since part of the fun of making these cookies is giving them away to family and friends as mishloach manot care packages, I wouldn't want my grandfathers on either side to miss out on the flavors they grew up with as little kiddos in Youngstown, Ohio, and New York.


Two years ago I blogged about traditional hamantaschen by Carole Walter. They were delicious and I will absolutely be making those again. But this year, I wanted to try a new recipe and so naturally I found myself sitting on the carpet in front of my cookbook bookcase studying Marcy Goldman's Jewish baking book. She had more than one option for traditional versions, but I was drawn to the title of this one, "Almost-Like-a-Bakery." They were true to their name and turned out yummy!


Almost-Like-a-Bakery Traditional Hamantaschen
Recipe by Marcy Goldman in A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking
Makes 4 to 6 dozen pastries

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or unsalted margarine
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice or milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Approximately 4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Golden egg wash (see recipe below)
Fillings: chocolate hazelnut paste, cherry, apricot, prune, or poppy
Regular or coarse sugar (optional)

In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening, butter, and sugar together. Add the eggs and blend until smooth. (If the mixture is hard to blend or seems curdled, add a bit of the flour to bind it.)

Stir in the orange juice or milk and the vanilla. Fold in the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix to make a firm but soft dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a smooth mass. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 2 or 3 flattened discs and work with one portion at a time.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter and cut as many rounds as you can. Brush the rounds with egg wash. Fill with a generous teaspoonful of the desired filling. Draw 3 sides together into the center. You should now have a 3-cornered or triangular pastry. Repeat this process with the remaining dough and filling. Brush the pastries with additional egg wash. If desired, sprinkle with regular or coarse sugar, and bake in the center of the preheated oven until golden brown (18 to 25 minutes). Cool on the baking sheets.

If you prefer, this dough can be made ahead and refrigerated, wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 days, or frozen (either as a disc of dough or as already formed and filled pastries, for a couple of months). If refrigerating, allow the dough to warm up before rolling out. For frozen pastries, bake without defrosting.

Golden Egg Wash
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons milk or water
Pinch of sugar

In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Use a pastry brush to glaze or brush on prepared, unbaked hamantaschen.


Step-by-Step in Pictures

Cream the shortening, butter, and sugar together...

Add the eggs, milk (or orange juice), and vanilla...

Fold in the dry ingredients until the dough comes together. Then let rest before shaping or wrap up and chill...

To shape, cut circles out of the dough, then brush the rounds with egg glaze and fill with poppyseed filling or jam...

Fold the sides up to form triangle cookies. Poppyseed filling here...

Apricot-jam filled with egg glaze and rainbow coarse sugar, ready to go in the oven...

Bake at 350 degrees for 18 to 25 minutes, then you're done!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Hamantashen


I know I've said before that I'm a fan of cookbook author Marlene Sorosky. But what I haven't told you is that I own every single one of her cookbooks now. Last weekend, I searched online for the missing ones from my collection, and ordered all of them in one giant credit card blow. I was tired of staring at the void in my cookbook bookcases, knowing that some of her books were not there. I had had enough! Some people collect vintage Barbie dolls, some collect stamps or coins, I collect cookbooks. It's not about having every single cookbook that was ever written. But it is about having every single cookbook by my favorite authors. Over time, I'll complete my Beatrice Ojakangas, Lou Pappas, Carole Walter, Beth Hensperger, Marcy Goldman, Lori Longbotham, and David Lebovitz collections, and a few others.

My Marlene Sorosky collection

This recipe immediately stood out to me because it's not your conventional hamantashen (which I do really like, too). It's a chocolate dough, and a winning combination of peanut butter-strawberry filling to go with that chocolate. It looks really neat to include in your mishloach manot care package to give your friends and family on Purim along with more traditional hamantashen, fruit, and snacks. Since I'm going through a fancy salts phase/obsession and newly purchased Maldon sea salt, I sprinkled a few flakes on the just-out-of-the-oven cookies to finish the look. You certainly don't need to, but my taste buds were very happy with the result!


Chocolate-Peanut Butter Hamantashen
Recipe by Marlene Sorosky in Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays

Chocolate Dough

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped, melted, and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Peanut Butter Filling

Scant 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup strawberry jam or preserves
3 Tablespoons whole or low-fat milk
Strawberry jam for topping (optional)

Place rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease or spray 2 heavy-duty or cushioned baking sheets.

To Make Dough:
In mixing bowl with electric mixer, cream butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla until well blended. Mix in melted chocolate. Add flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Mix on medium speed 1 minute. Shape into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold enough to roll. (Dough may be refrigerated up to 2 days. Leave at room temperature until soft enough to roll but still very cold.)

To Make Filling: In a medium bowl, stir peanut butter and jam together. Stir in milk.

To Shape Hamantashen: Divide dough in half; cover 1 portion with plastic wrap. Roll other half between 2 sheets of wax paper into an 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out circles. (A clean, empty tuna can with both ends removed makes an ideal cutter.) Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoons filling in the center of each circle. Press 3 edges together to make a triangle, leaving a small opening in the center for the filling to show. Place 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Reroll scraps, cut out, and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.

To Bake:
If not baking on cushioned baking sheets, double-pan by placing 1 baking sheet on top of another. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tops are firm. The cookies will firm up slightly as they cool. If you like them soft, bake the minimum time; for crisper cookies, bake longer. If baking 2 sheets in one oven, rotate positions halfway through the baking time. If desired, top each with a small dollop of jam and return to oven for 1 minute to set. Cool 2 minutes and remove to racks. (Hamantashen may be stored, airtight, for several days or frozen.)

Makes: about 24 hamantashen


Step-by-Step in Pictures

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar...

Mix in egg and vanilla...

Mix in melted chocolate...

Add flour, baking soda, and salt...

Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate...

To make the filling, stir together peanut butter and strawberry jam...

Add milk to the filling...

Stir filling until all ingredients are incorporated...

Roll out the chocolate dough and cut circles...

Spoon a dollop of peanut butter filling in the center of each round...

Shape into triangles and place on cookie tray...

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees...

When the cookies are done, take them out of the oven and drop a tiny bit of strawberry jam on top of each one, then return to the oven for 1 minute...

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Fancy Shmancy Hamentaschen


Chag Purim Sameach! (that means Happy Purim for those not yet in-the-know, which I'm happily fixing)

Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, hamentaschen are fun cookies to make and yummy to eat. They're three cornered filled cookies made by rolling out dough, cutting circles with a cookie cutter, placing about a teaspoon of filling in the center of each, and pinching three points together while leaving some filling exposed. You can go crazy on fillings. In the past, I've made some pretty fancy fillings, such as a Marcy Goldman chocolate peanut butter one or a homemade apricot filling, which required stirring dried apricots over the stove with a bunch of other ingredients. You could also go the easier route and buy fruit preserves, chocolate chips, poppy seed filling, etc...

This year, I decided to make one fancy, one easy. For fancy, I went with a chocolate filling, made by mixing together, basically, the ingredients of a brownie over a double boiler. The recipe is from Alice Medrich in A Year in Chocolate. You know the recipe has to be good when it comes from the First Lady of Chocolate, creator of Cocolat, and inventor of the large truffle. Gosh, writing all this, I'm feeling so grateful to Alice for her contributions I think I should send her a thank you letter!

As for the easy filling, I bought a jar of apricot preserves.

The dough recipe I selected is from the incredible Carole Walter in her Great Cookies cookbook. It is one of my cookbook bibles. I had never tried her hamentaschen recipe and so it was about time. Of course, as predicted, the result blew me away. The dough is fantastic. It's soft and chewy, as opposed to pretty standard dry, crumbly types like you often see in bakeries.

Test your knowledge of Purim with this 12-question quiz.


Hamentaschen
Recipe by Carole Walter in Great Cookies
Makes 40 2 1/2-inch cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (1 1/3 sticks) cold, unsalted butter or margarine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks (save the egg whites)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large egg whites, lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons of sugar

Make the dough:
1. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the work b owl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse two or three times to combine. Add the butter and pulse five times, then process 5 seconds to form meallike crumbs.
2. Place the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in a small bowl and mix with a fork to combine. Pour the mixture into the processor and pulse four or five times, then process for 1 minute, or until dough begins to clump together. Pour out onto a lightly floured surface and, with floured hands, form into two disks, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days. (This dough may be frozen for up to 4 months.)

Shape the hamentaschen:
3. Position the shelves in the lower and upper thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Dab the corners of the cookie sheets with butter and line them with baking parchment.
4. Place a pastry cloth on a pastry board or other flat surface. Cover a rolling pin with a pastry sleeve. Dust the pastry cloth and the sleeve with flour. Roll the dough to a thickness of about 3/16 inch. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles of dough and place them on the cookie sheets.
5. When all of the dough has been cut, place about 1 1/2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each circle. Brush the perimeter of the circle with the egg wash. Using a dough scraper, lift the dough to partially cover the filling, spacing it at one-third intervals, like a tri-cornered hat.

Bake the cookies:
6. Brush the tops of the formed cookies with the egg wash, then bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. To ensure even browning, toward the end of baking time, rotate the sheets top to bottom and front tto back. Remove from the oven adn let rest on the cookie sheets for 2 or 3 minutes. Loosen the cookies with a thin metal spatula and transfer to wire cooling racks.

Note:
When rerolling the scraps, do not gather them in your hand. Stack the scraps on a 12-inch piece of plastic wrap, bring the four sites to the middle, and using the plastic wrap as an aid, press the pieces of dough together, forming a small rectangle. Refrigerate before rerollilng.

Storage:
Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 5 days. These cookies may be frozen.


Chocolate Filling
Recipe by Alice Medrich in A Year in Chocolate
Makes enough for 3 dozen cookies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, cold
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Melt the butter with the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Stir frequently until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring in the first until incorporated before adding the second. Stir in the flour and beat with a spoon until the mixture is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Scrape into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.


Step-by-Step in Pictures

Making the dough...
Time to chill the dough for at least an hour...
Making the chocolate filling over a double boiler...



Filling and shaping the cookies...



Baked!
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