11 hours ago
Saturday, February 27, 2010
What to do while stuck in the house in 2 feet of snow?
These favorite cookies are made in March to celebrate the Jewish holiday Purim, which starts tomorrow.
What is Purim? you might ask.
Purim is a festival that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther.
And hamantaschen are triangular cookies filled with prune, poppy seeds, or other sweet substances.
The word Hamantaschen translates from German to “Haman’s hats” or "Haman's pockets". Haman was the villain, and was later hanged. He wore a triangular shaped hat!
All I remember from when I was a kid in Sunday school was that we got to dress up and put on a play for Purim and everyone hated the guy who dressed up like Haman, and that the Jewish bakery always had poppy seed hamantaschen, and I loved them!
Prune is the second choice for hamantaschen filling. Mash up prunes with walnuts, raisins and orange juice in a food processor, and it makes an easy and delicious filling.
They are fairly easy to make, and I hear that poppy seed filling can be purchased already made in a can by a brand called SOLO (though try and make your own if you have the patience). Nick Malgieri's poppy seed filling recipe is here.
This time I chose to make fig & sesame seed hamantaschan. Dare to be different!
I purchased a lovely jar of fig and sesame seed preserves from a Middle Eastern market and thought it would be the perfect filling. It was!
The orange scented dough rolls out easily and is a pleasure to work with.
The only hard part is getting the knack of forming the triangles. Some came out better than others.
Start with making one straight fold towards the fruit filling, then bring the other 2 sides to meet the fold, pinching the sides together forming a triangle. You can also overlap each fold, that insures that they won't come apart during the baking process.
If I can do it, anyone can.
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. vegetable oil
3 1/2 c. Flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. orange juice
zest of a small orange
Filling of your choice. Prune, poppy seed or any fruit preserves.
-Preheat oven to 350°. Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
- Mix sugar and oil with eggs. Add dry ingredients. Add juice or vanilla. Chill about half hour in the fridge, so the dough is firm.
- Roll dough out on pastry cloth or floured surface. Cut into circular shapes using the rim of approx. 3" diameter glass or cookie cutter. (You can also use a larger size if you want bigger cookies).
- Add a teaspoon of filling to center of circle. Bring sides up slightly making a triangle, pinch corners tight to prevent filling from spilling out.
- Bake at 350F on a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets for 13-15 minutes until dough is firm and slightly golden.
- Transfer to racks to cool.
These were fun to make and really festive!
I don't think al fresco dining is in our near future!