When I bake, I mostly, make one-big-piece desserts. Purim is the exception. Somehow, I can’t imagine the holiday without the little hat-like triangle hamentashen, the tastiest cookies with the variety of fillings.
Mine are quite a bit of work, but the effort is certainly well worth it.
You can use any filling, even a store bought container of apple butter, prune jam, chocolate, or really anything else.
I make my own filling by combining all or any of the following ingredients with no particular proportions. It really depends on your pantry and your fantasy:
Lemon peel (I think I gave out this trick before – just cut the peels of any citrus, add sugar and store in a glass jar in the freezer until you need some)
Apples, peeled and cut up into small pieces
Put all the chosen ingredients in a small pot and bring to a very low simmer. Keep it this way for a few minutes stirring constantly. You can make the filling a few days in advance, and keep in the refrigerator.
For the dough:
4 cups flour. I used a combination of white, oat and almond meal. You can easily use just white, or any flour combination you like. You might need a bit more for dusting the board.
1 tbsp. baking powder
a dash of salt
3 jumbo eggs
1/2 cup sugar (this depends on the filling. The sweeter the filling the less sugar here)
A bit of vanilla extract
1/4 cup orange juice
Zest of 1 orange or lemon
In a bowl combine your dry ingredients except for sugar.
Cream the butter and sugar using a mixer or by hand. Add eggs and mix well. Add all other wet ingredients. Add the flour mixture gradually mixing well. Once the dough starts shaping just a bit, dump it to a floured board.
Knead the dough incorporating as little additional flour as you can until it shapes up.
Flour it just a tiny bit more and wrap in plastic. Let the dough refrigerate for an hour or even overnight if you have the luxury of using the next morning for baking. While the dough refrigerates, do yourself a favor, read up on Megilat Esther.
Esther is one of the most controversial books of the Tanach. The only book that is not found in the caves of Qumran. The only book, where the name of Gd is not mentioned. First religious persecution story of the ancient world.
Esther, the unlikely heroine growing in front of our eyes from a simple, shy young lady into a powerful, determined queen ready do make her own decisions for the benefit of her people even by sacrificing herself.
The reason the word “G-d” is never mentioned in the Megilat Esther is that we, as people need to understand that until we act righteously ourselves before G-d, behind the scene He acts on our behalf.
So, the dough might be cool by now.
The beauty and the pain of it is that this dough is very soft. You need to work in batches, cutting a piece, rolling it, filling it, putting the batch in the oven, and only then making a new batch.
I use a tiny rolling pin that I got from my niece from Germany. Comes very handy for this type of work. The trick is to roll the dough as thin as you can without adding too much flour.
Put a bit of filling in each of the rounds and shape the little “hats”. Mine don’t really look like hats, but everyone is OK with it.
Place the cookies on a sheet covered with parchment and sprayed with oil.
Bake at 350 – 360F depending on your oven.
And, there you have them – tiny little bundles of joy really worth slaving for:
If like me, you have no time to make these just before Purim, bake them, let them cool, layer them in an airtight container on a paper towel with towels in between rows to absorb the moisture.
This way you will be able to store them in the refrigerator and warm them up quickly at 400F just for 1-3 minutes. They will be delicious!
Hag Purim Sameach!