March 29, 2011

Hamantaschen Part 2

Once you've made the dough and let it rest for several hours it's time to make your hamantaschen. Roll out part of the dough on a lightly floured surface, until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. You don't want it so thin that it is slightly transparent, but a little thicker is fine. If you don't have a rolling pin, try using a thick glass, making sure to press down gently as you roll.

Using a glass/ measuring cup/two-inch circular object of your choice, cut out circles from the dough and set aside. Make the circles as close to each other as you can without overlapping to save time. Any remaining dough can be rerolled.

Take a small custard dish or bowl and fill it with water.

Take out desired filling(s).

Dip your index finger in the water and draw a circle around the top edges of a hamanataschen. Immediately add about a teaspoon or two of filling. If you add too much filling, you will be able to tell, because the hamantaschen will not close easily. Simply remove excess filling.

Essentially, what you will be doing is folding the edges of a circle into thirds.

Fold the top edge of the circle so that it covers the edge of the filling. Take more water and gently rub down the edges of the fold. The edges should nearly disappear into the cookie. Turn and fold remaining edges of the hamantaschen similarly two more times so that they overlap, making sure to use water to bind them together. There should be a well defined triangle of filling visible.

Move completed hamantaschen to a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until tops begin to turn brown. Cool on a baking rack.

Traditional fillings include poppy seed and other fruit fillings including prunes.

Jam Filling
jam of your choice
chopped nuts

These fruit fillings can be easily made using different kind of jams. Be warned that the jam may bubble out of your hamantaschen, however. To keep this from happening, simply add a few finely chopped nuts to your jam in a small custard dish.

Poppy seed filling is a bit more complex. It is also my favorite kind of hamantaschen filling. This recipe does make a lot of it, however, so it should be made for a large party or if you only make one kind of filling, otherwise you may have a lot leftover. Poppy seed filling can also be bought at some supermarkets in the baking section, next to other canned pie fillings.

Poppy Seed Filling
(adapted from Jewish Holiday Kitchen )
1/4 pound sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 pound poppy seeds
1/2 egg white
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
rind and juice of 1/2 lemon or orange
1 oz raisins
1/2 oz figs or dates or additional raisins
cinnamon to taste
1/2 cup raspberry jam
2 tablespoon butter

Combine the sugar and water in a pot. Simmer mixture over low heat.
Grind the poppy seeds in a food processor or blender.  Add to sugar mixture.

Add egg white, vanilla, lemon or orange rind and juice, raisins, figs, and cinnamon.  Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.  

Add jam and butter and continue simmering until butter is melted and all ingredients are combined.  You can use the filling then or let it chill in refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes until the filling becomes a bit firmer.

Now you're ready for the nontraditional fillings. Basically, the sky's the limit.

One of the interesting things about baking hamantaschen with friends who didn't grow up eating the traditional flavors is that they come up with something so blasphemous- like pumpkin pie hamantaschen- that you have to stare at them in shock and horror for several minutes.... Then totally do it.

And it turned out awesome.

Non-traditional Fillings:

Chocolate Options


Chocolate Chips

They both melt beautifully. Apply peanut butter when necessary. 
Chopped nuts as well.

Lemon Curd
Lemon Curd Jar

Doesn't burn. Thank goodness. Add white chocolate chips for extra sweetness.

Pumpkin Pie Filling
about 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
skim milk
dash or two of bootstrap molasses
generous pinch of cinnamon and ginger
dash of nutmeg 
(pumpkin pie spice works as well)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. You want to use just enough milk to wet the mixture without it becoming watery. 

This only makes enough for 3-4 hamantaschen, which if you've made it this far, you may find relieving, as you probably have started to wonder just how many batches of dough you'll need for all these fillings. 
If you want to make a larger batch of pumpkin filling, simply increase the amount of pumpkin and add a little extra of everything else.

Pop those hamantaschen in the oven for 10-15 minutes, at 375 degrees. Let cool 3-4 minutes.

Bite.  Chew.  


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