Since this was never intended to be, and never will be, a food blog, I only post recipes on the weekend (that is, when I’m not taking a break from blogging in general). Since I cook seven days a week, this obviously means that I’m generating a huge back-log of recipes and associated pictures waiting to be posted, so when I do put a recipe up, often it is something which I made weeks, or even months, previously. Today, however, this is quite literally hot out of the oven, in the event any of you are inspired to do any holiday baking of your own.
Sundown tomorrow marks the start of Purim, which celebrates the story of Esther, in which the Jews escaped from evil Haman’s plot of annihilation. Purim is a festival – whenever Hamen’s name is mentioned during the reading of the Megillah, everyone boos and hisses and shakes gragers (noisemakers). Children dress up in costumes, playing off of the theme that Esther hid her own cultural identity from the king. But the BEST part of Purim by far? The hamentashen.
On Purim, we eat Hamentashen and sing a little song about them (My hat, it has three corners\ Three corners has my hat\ And if it has not three corners\ It would not be my hat). Hamentashen are made in a triangular shape as a reference to the supposedly triangular shaped hat that Hamen wore. Why we eat his hat in particular, I am not sure, but it doesn’t matter to me, because hamentashen are, by far, my absolute, most definite, favorite cookie/pastry/cakey type dessert. The sugary dough combined with the fruity filling is an absolute perfect pairing. Many bakeries now serve hamentashen year-round (and under a different name, deviating from their Jewish Purim tradition), but as I associate them back to their native roots, I only eat them at Purim. When you only make your favorite dessert once a year, you feel far less guilty eating 2 or 3… or 6.
Traditionally, a hamentash is filled with poppyseed, prune, or apricot filling, though my personal favorites are raspberry or cherry filling. This year, I asked my husband what his preference for filling was, and requested apple. I have never, in my life, heard of an apple humentash, but by special request, I made three batches of hamentashen, and filled mine with cherry, apple, and apricot preserves. I made over 6 dozen today, so I have batches boxed up and ready to ship out tomorrow to family, some ready to take to the lab, send off with my husband for his co-workers in the ER, and one sitting out for me for breakfast. Honestly, is there a better way to start a Monday morning than with a cherry hamentash? I thought not.
Julie’s Most Favoriteist Hamentashen
- 3/4 cup margarine (margarine is necessary for a kosher recipe; otherwise butter can be used)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- few drops water
- preserves of choice (apricot, poppy, raspberry, cherry pie filling, etc)
- Cream margarine in mixer bowl. Add sugar and beat until fluffy.
- Beat in egg, lemon zest, and vanilla.
- Add in flour and salt. Beat in water a few drops at a time, until dough just starts to come away from the sides of the bowl.
- Place dough in a 2-quart size bag and form into a flat disk. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.
- Roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
- Using a round cookie cutter or the top of a glass, cut out circles. Spoon a small amount of filling (2-3 cherries) onto the dough circles. Fold over one edge of the dough, then a second edge, and finally a third edge to create a triangle. This works far better than the “pinching” method, if you have tried to make hamentashen in the past – pinching the corners often results in the dough collapsing while baking, yielding grossly malformed (though still delicious) hamentashen. Try the folding method instead – it works much better. Trust me. Repeat this process with the remaining dough.
- Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake at 350F for 12 to 15 minutes, or just until starting to turn a pale golden color