Saturday, February 27, 2010

Hamantaschen in the Snow

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What to do while stuck in the house in 2 feet of snow?
Bake Hamantaschen!

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.



Hamantaschen:

1 c. sugar
3/4 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
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!



20 comments:

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love your hamantaschen Stacey. Any left for me? Leave it to you to find another use for figs!

Jen_from_NJ said...

What an interesting post Stacey! I love that you incorporated your favorite filling into the traditional hamantaschen. They look fantastic. Happy Purim!

Jen said...

Your hamantaschen look so pretty! The fig and sesame seed preserves sound AMAZING! I will have to look for something like that to use as filling.

George Gaston said...

Stacey, your cookies look awesome and what a wonderful filling. Thanks for the history behind them.

Your "birthday cake" topped patio table brings back so many memories of winters past, when I live in CT. I have to say, I miss the beauty of fresh fallen snow, but I don't miss the cold and work it takes to get on with ones life during those snow storms.

Stay warm and thanks for a terrific cookie recipe...

Elra said...

Perfect Hamantaschen Stacey. Your back yard cover with snow that high? Wow!

Sharon said...

These look great! Sounds yummy with the Fig Jam. I am thinking of doing them with Apricot Preserves.

SarahB said...

Very pretty! I LOVE poppy filling but yours look so delicious!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Yaah, I would say no al fresco for you right now! These cookies look so good. Guess what? I'm going into the city for preserved lemons and fig jam and whatever else I see!

Claudia said...

Your hamantaschen is inspired - the fig jam - mmmm.... may have to bake. I love Purim - put the celebration in a youth play once - it was grand - all these non-Jewish children (2 casts of 30) celebrating Purim onstage. Publishers didn't want the celebration in the play - said it was "religious." The same publishers with a Christmas list of plays. Oh well. By-the-bye, did make your balsamic pan sauce tonight. The dog was disappointed - no leftovers. It was delicious.

Karen said...

I just learned of Purim a few days ago from a friend. A queen and a bee! Those cookies look delish!

Dana said...

First of all, gorgeous job on the cookies. I don't think I would have the patience to make such beautiful creations. Second of all, I cannot believe the snow you guys are getting! I hope you are able to enjoy the beauty and not get cabin fever!

dm said...

Chag Samach!!

I made mine with a prune filling. My mom buys the filling alread in the jar but here in England I can't find any so make my own which is so easy to do.

I have to fess up that your's are prettier than mine.

It's about that time to start thinking of food for Passover too.Will you be sharing any recipes for that holiday?

women and food said...

My country is identical with the snack of dry food .. look delicious .. nice post

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Having just returned from outdoor swimming, I cannot fathom living life in the snow. However, I would make these cookies anytime of year. Your cookies look bakery perfect. I'm not sure which filling I'd prefer-- fig? apricot jam? It all looks so good!
PS: I wont' photography my Silpat mats. I've had them for years and they don't look as bright and new as yours. Yikes!
Hope spring comes your way, soon.

kat said...

My old bosses used to bring the leftovers of those into work for us, yummy

The Japanese Redneck said...

Another interesting cultural fact. The cookies look great and it's so nice knowing the meaning behind them.

Blaine from Silicone Bakeware said… said...

Look great and I can't wait to try them out. I just purchased a large Silpat at a fantastic price so here go's.

deb said...

Hi Stacey -- I have been nominated to teach my son's preschool class to make hamantaschen, which is hilarious as I mostly mess them up. Anyway, the recipe needs to be non-dairy (none of mine are) and it's best if just uses oil, so the kids can stir it with a spoon (and not need a handmixer). Google led me here and as I always love your comments, I trust your recipe implicitly. However, I don't have time to audition them in my own kitchen. Would you agree that this is preschooler-friendly? Thanks.

Stacey Snacks said...

Hi Deb,
Sorry getting back to you just now.....this was not the easiest recipe, so your preschoolers have to be pretty good bakers to try this one!
It's folding the corners that took some practice!

Good luck!

cyclingrandma said...

Add an egg wash before baking-- helps seal the corners and gives a nice glaze. Happy Purim!