Tomorrow is the Jewish holiday of Purim and part of the traditional celebrations is a triangular filled cookie called a hamantaschen (literally, Haman's hat). To say I love them would be a gross understatement! My mother was not much of a baker so our pastries came from bakeries, including my beloved annual hamantaschen. She always worked at a school on the lower east side of Manhattan which was once home to many old world Jewish delis, bakeries, pickle vendors, etc. and that's where she bought them. Those were the days...
Hot & Crusty but Eli's also makes a close replica. The pre-packaged hamantaschen found in most supermarkets is definitely NOT worth eating. But there's always a mad rush around Purim and I've been disappointed to find bakeries sold out on more than one occasion. I really wanted to learn to make these cookies myself. My beloved hamantaschen is also the source of one of Brian's and my favorite "inside" jokes.
Me: What kind of hamantaschen do you have today?
Clerk: They're $2.50.
Me: Thank you. And what flavors of hamantaschen do you have?
Clerk: They cost $2.50 each.
Me: That's fine. Can you please tell me what the flavors are on that tray of freshly baked hamantaschen?
Clerk: Oh. Prune, apricot and poppy seed.
Me: Excellent! We'll take two poppy seed.
Clerk: They're $2.50 each.
Me: Yes, I understand that.
Clerk: How many do you want?
You should know that I'm not exaggerating in the slightest and it took a couple more rounds before we were finally able to leave the store with our two hamantaschen (at a cost of $2.50 each, don'tchaknow). Yup, I really needed to learn how to make these babies myself but, unfortunately, this is proving harder than you'd think.
|1st Attempt. Butter dough.|
|Hamantaschen from Crumb's Bakery|
|Assorted Hamantaschen at Orwasher's Bakery|
|2nd Attempt (oil based dough)|
2 Cups all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
3/4 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup canola oil
1 Teaspoon orange zest
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1/2 Cup filling of choice (I used apricot preserves)
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, egg, zest and juice. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly beat the dry ingredients into the wet until fully combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/4" thick. Note that if it is too crumbly you might need to add a few drops of water. Cut out rounds with a cutter or glass. The traditional small cookie is made with a 3" cutter but I like them larger so I used a 4 1/2" cutter. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each round and fold up the edges into a triangle. I used a bit of water on my fingers to pinch the ends shut.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. The number of servings will vary based on the size cutter you used but I got about a dozen large cookies.