Do you love hamentaschen? I’m betting you do.
I sure do, but I’m not at all fond of the over-sweet, stodgy hamentaschen flooding grocery stores and supermarkets right now. It’s so worthwhile making my own, that I’m going to interrupt my pre-Purim baking marathon to post this recipe. It’s a real, old-fashioned hamentasch with a delicate cookie crust. The filling is up to you. I’ve kept it pareve to accommodate those eating meat meals on Purim day. But I must say that these hamentaschen are fabulous filled with dulce de leche.
Source: Jewish Cookery, by Leah W. Leonard
Yield: about 24 hamentaschen
Preheat oven to 375° F – 190° C.
Ingredients for Dough:
2/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted flour
Blend margarine and sugar. Add egg and mix to creaminess.
Add water and vanilla. Stir in flour till you obtain a dough you can gather into a ball.
Place dough ball in a plastic bag, close it well, and chill 2 hours to overnight.
Roll out on a floured surface till the dough is 1/8″ thin. It’s convenient to cut the dough up into quarters or halves and work with those smaller amounts.
Cut into rounds. The size of your cookie will depend on the size of the rounds, of course. With a biscuit cutter, I made 24 hamentaschen.
Place a level teaspoon of filling in the center of each cookie round. Mrs. Leonard’s instructions are that the filling should be “the size of a hazelnut,” referring to fruit and nut fillings.
Pinch the sides of each filled cookie together to form a triangle that shows the filling in the center.
Place on baking-paper lined sheet and bake about 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a rack to cool.
Filling: Any firm jam or preserves. I used a sugar-free apricot jam in this batch. But here’s another very old-fashioned European filling, also from Jewish Cookery.
2 cups ground poppyseeds
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine seeds, water, honey, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat till thick, stirring to avoid scorching. Allow to cool before adding eggs. Beat thoroughly and if the added eggs thin the filling out, return the pan to heat and cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes longer.
Avoid watery fillings as these will force the cookie open and spill.
Plan to bake these cookies as soon as they’re filled and shaped into hamentaschen. If held over too long, their walls will collapse in the oven. As I found out when photographing them before baking.
The chilling period is necessary to create the firm yet delicate consistency of the cookie. Don’t neglect it.