Of all the festive holidays on the Jewish calendar, Purim is arguably the most exuberant. Kids and adults alike dressing up from head to toe in all sorts of disguises. Baskets of goodies being exchanged door to door. And the hamantashen. Oh, those scrumptious, triangular-shaped cookies with fruit or chocolate fillings! You don’t have to settle on a crumbly mess from the bakery (although that’s what you might prefer). You can make your own hamantashen at home. And who knows? Maybe you’ll decide they are too good to make only once a year.
The dough. The hamantashen dough is a sweet cookie dough that can be crumbly and cake-like, or it can form a more crunchy cookie. The dough is a rolled cookie dough, which is flattened out evenly and then cut out to form cookies. When rolling out the dough, make sure it’s not too thin. The dough needs a little thickness so it doesn’t burn and will be easier to pinch together to form triangles.
The filling. When filling your cookies, make sure not to overfill. Otherwise the dough will open and the filling will leak out. A little filling goes a long way. Use a filling that is not too liquidy so it doesn’t spill out. Traditionally, apricot and poppy-seed fillings are used. You can use any flavor jams, chocolate fillings, fresh fruit and nuts, or a combination of any of them.
The process. After rolling the dough, use something circular to cut out the cookies. A cookie cutter, ¼-cup measuring cup, or large shot glass can work. The circle-shaped cookie is perfect for creating triangles. Fill each circle with the same amount of filling using a measuring spoon. You can help the dough stick together by brushing the circles with egg whites left over after making the dough before pinching. The egg whites will serve as a glue to keep the hamantashen shape. Brush the sides of the hamantashen to get a beautiful brown color. v
Yields about 40
12 large egg yolks
2 large whole eggs
2 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons
¼ cup apple juice
1½ cup canola oil
8 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
4 cups prune butter
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
zest of 1 lemon
egg wash made with 1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water
In a large bowl, combine egg yolks, 2 eggs, and sugar. Whisk in zest, juice, and oil. Combine flour and salt in a separate bowl. Add a third of the flour to egg mixture, stirring to combine, then adding another third, and mixing well again before adding the last third of flour. Finish mixing by hand to create a firm, slightly sticky dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine prune butter, apricots, walnuts, and lemon zest to form filling. Flour your surface and work with a third of the dough. Roll dough out to ¼” thick. With a round cookie cutter, cut out circles. Fill each circle with a tablespoon of the filling and pinch three corners to close. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat process with remaining dough. Create egg wash. Brush cookies with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes.
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