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Hamantaschen are cookies traditionally served on the Jewish holiday of Purim. This holiday commemorates a time when the the Jewish people in Persia were saved from extermination; the name of this sweet treat comes from Haman, a cruel advisor to the king. Their name literally means "Haman's Pockets," and their triangular shape mimics that of Haman's three-cornered hat.

To make them, you'll need:

+ 1 cup granulated sugar
+ 1/3 cup vegetable oil
+ 1/2 cup (1 stick) of margarine or butter
+ 3 eggs
+ approximately 4 cups of flour
+ 1 orange
+ 3 teaspoons of baking powder
+ 1 teaspoon salt
+ filling (see recipe below)

Cream oil, butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and mix well; squeeze juice from the orange into the wet mixture. Add baking powder and salt; gradually add flour. Work dough until it reaches a consistency similar to that of shortbread dough, or wet sand. Set aside.

Hamantaschen may be filled with just about anything sweet, from fruits to nuts. I took the traditional mohn (poppyseed) filling and gave it my own touch:

+ poppy seeds, 2.5 tablespoons
+ raisins (approximately 1/2 cup)
+ prunes (approximately 1/2 cup)
+ honey
+ brown sugar, 1-2 tablespoons
+ 1-2 lemons
+ water

In a microwave safe container, combine poppy seeds and 2.5 tablespoons of water. Microwave for 7-8 minutes; remove and set aside. Coarsely chop raisins and prunes; add to poppy seeds along with brown sugar. Mix well. Squeeze lemon juice into mixture; add honey until it has a consistency similar to jam.

Flour hard surface. Roll dough into a sheet, 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Using a glass or small, round cookie-cutter, cut the dough into circles. Add a heaping teaspoon of poppyseed mixture to the center of each circle. Bring the right and left "sides" (if you can imagine a circle having sides) up and pinch the end to seal. Bring the bottom flap up, and pinch to seal.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until just brown. Enjoy! (Makes around 40 cookies.)

Poppy Seed on Foodista

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