Hamantaschen

March 20, 2011 § 8 Comments

Happy Purim everyone! I know I promised another rhubarb recipe, but that will have to hold off till later, since there’s a holiday that snuck up on me to celebrate, and what better way than baking some Hamantaschen?


For those who have never heard of Hamantaschen, they are triangular cookies baked to celebrate Purim, the Jewish holiday celebrating the defeat of Haman by Queen Esther. Since Haman wore a hat that has three corners — three corners has his hat! — the cookies are therefore triangular. And yes, I still remember that earworm song after all these years.


There are probably as many variations on Hamantaschen as there are fans of these cookies. I decided to take a nice cream-cheese-and-butter dough and change it up a bit, adding in poppy seeds, which are traditional to the holiday apparently, and filling them with the acidic brightness of lemon curd to complement the slight nuttiness of the poppy seeds.


Unfortunately, I learned after I baked the cookies that cream cheese dough has a tendency to collapse while being baked, and probably would’ve been better off listening to my instinct, or at least my inner preschooler, which is when I learned to fill and make Hamantaschen. So, instead of cutting out circles and forming the filled triangles that way, cut out triangular shapes from dough rolled out about 1/3 inch thick and make an indentation with your thumb or back of a tablespoon. Then fill and bake. For instance, if lemon curd isn’t your thing — and I think next time I make these I am going to swap out the lemon curd for a citrusy marmalade instead, as I love the bite of a nice marmalade against poppy seeds — try any jam or jelly you prefer.

These cookies are definitely both easy to make and personalize, and happily, even easier to eat. Even if you don’t celebrate Purim, they are a nice cheerful cookie to welcome spring, especially as they’ve always rather reminded me of flowers — in this case daffodils with their sunny yellow center.

Hamantaschen — Lemon curd and poppyseed cookies

Adapted from smittenkitchen

Makes approximately two dozen two-inch Hamantaschen

Ingredients

  • Eight tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature (one stick/four ounces)
  • Three ounces cream cheese (or Neufchâtel cheese), at room temperature
  • Three to four tablespoons sugar (use the lesser amount if filling is particularly sweet)
  • One extra-large egg
  • One teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • One and 1/3 cups plus one tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • One tablespoon poppy seeds
  • Lemon curd (from a jar or homemade) or citrus marmalade, or jam/jelly/preserve of your choice(s)

1. In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter for about a minute (I made these by hand, so those using mixers will make the dough even faster). Then, add the sugar and stir until the sugar is completely blended in.

2. Stir in the vanilla extract, salt, and then finally the egg, until you have a smooth, pale yellow mixture. While stirring, add in the flour and poppy seeds. Mix until everything is well blended, and then transfer the dough from the bowl onto a waiting piece of plastic wrap. Pat it into a roughly circular disk, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

3. When you are ready to bake the Hamantaschen, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line  two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

4. Peel off the plastic wrap on the cookie dough. On a very lightly floured surface, roll out the dough disk until it is about 1/3 of an inch thick, and cut out triangles (either with a cookie cutter or knife) that are approximately two inches or so across. (You may need to re-roll and cut the dough to use up all of it.)

5. With the back of a rounded tablespoon measure or your thumb, make indentations in the center of the triangular cookies, being careful not to press through completely. Fill each indentation with a little of your chosen jam/preserve/jelly/curd.

6. Bake for twenty to twenty-two minutes, or until the Hamantaschen are light golden brown, swapping the cookie sheets halfway through baking to ensure even browning. Enjoy!

Note: cookies store at room temperature for up to one week.

Bibliography

Perelman, Deb. “Hamantaschen.” SmittenKitchen. 23 Mar. 2008. 17 Mar. 2011. <http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/03/hamantaschen/>.

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