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Hamantaschen are triangular filled pastries or cookies served at Purim, (this year on Tuesday, Feb. 26),  The shape recalls the hat worn by the villain of the story found in the Book of Esther, which tells how the Jewish people were saved from destruction.  

Jewish holidays:  "They tried to kill us.  We won.  Let's eat."

I generally use an apricot or prune filling in a cream cheese pastry crust.  Many people use a cookie crust, either a more contemporary butter cookie dough or a crisper, yet more grandmotherly oil cookie dough to encase the filling. Any fruit could be used, and poppyseeds used to be very popular.

For my filling, I add chopped dates, raisins, honey, orange juice, chopped nuts, cinnamon and nutmeg to jarred apricot or prune butter butter.  I like a chunky, textured filling.

I cut out 2 1/2" - 3" rounds of thinly rolled-out pastry, add a dollop of filling and pinch up into traingles, then dip each triangle upside down into lightly beaten egg white and bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Does anyone else make them?  How?

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I make them from my mom's recipe. She took a class from her synagogue when she got married, partly as a way to meet other young married women and partly because she really wanted to learn how to make Jewish delicacies. Her hamentaschen recipe came from this class, and I still use it. The dough is a sweet pastry held together with Crisco and it's pretty tasty, considering it uses no butter. (I think all of Mom's recipes use Crisco, which I presume she was taught to use because it's pareve). My forming and baking technique is similar to yours. I readily acknowledge that these are not the best Hamentaschen on the planet, but they're still better than the ones from the Kosher market.

My favorites are apricot and poppy seed, though I also like the relatively recent phenomenon of raspberry fillings. Mom just gave me a box of apricot and poppy ones when she came up to visit me yesterday. They're delicious little things, glazed with egg so they're shiny, plenty of filling. I love that hand-pinched look.

I like the flavors of jams better than the Solo filling Mom uses, but I've found most jam is just too oozy...jams bubble up and make little burns on the cookie sheet. If I was really inspired I might try my hand at making my own fillings, but as it is I am a lazy baker and therefore usually end up with the Solo fillings. (I'm much more interested in cooking than baking.)

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I like Sandra's idea of adding texture to the jam fillings. I like to use the Solo fillings, preferable apricot and prune. I think adding white raisins (plumped with rum or wine?) to the apricot fillling would be really good. I also like a cream cheese dough. I remember making that kind of dough when I organized the Hillel hamentashen making party at Hillel years ago. Sandra, could you post a recipe for the dough? It's been years since I made hamentashen.

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Pastry for hamantaschen (also good for rugelach or small tartlets)

1/2 lb. unsalted butter

1/2 lb. cream cheese

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Blend butter and cream cheese together till smooth. Incorporate flour and press into a flattened ball.  Allow to rest in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using.

I generally use yellow raisins for hamantaschen.  Plumping them in booze would certainly add something!  I haven't tried it.  

I also usually add some grated lemon zest to the filling.  

Apricot and prune butter (lekvar) are almost pure pureed dried fruit. (there is some corn syrup and sugar added)   I've never used Solo and would be afraid that it has some additional thickener, but that may simply be my misconception.

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I think this topic calls for Steve Klc...

Can you say Valhrona chocolate hamentashen? Piled on a crystal plate with a spun-sugar, fully functional gragger centerpeice that oozes mun-infused liquid marzipan with floating apricot and prune bits?

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hamantaschen are triangular filled pastries or cookies served at Purim, (this year on Tuesday, Feb. 26),  The shape recalls the hat worn by the villain of the story found in the Book of Esther, which tells how the Jewish people were saved from destruction.  

Jewish holidays:  "They tried to kill us.  We won.  Let's eat."

You know its funny.  Jason Perlow and I were trying to describe this to tommy the other day and it wound up sounding like this...

----------------------------------------------------------

tommy:  you know... those triangle cookies...

Jason: blah blah blah Apricot blah.  Triangle blah.  War blah.  Esther blah blan blah Ancient.  Prune, Strawberry blah.  Blah blah blah. Poppyseeds.  Crisco Jewish bakery blah.  Blah.

tommy:  Eh?

Me:  Okay... It's a cookie, see...

tommy:  Ug.

Me:  And it's shaped like a guy's hat.

tommy:  Um.

Me:  You see, we beat the guy, so we make a cookie out of his hat.

tommy: Uh?

The odd thing is, tommy was more intelligible than either me or Jason, and he was the one with no idea what we were talking about.   :biggrin:

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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  • 11 months later...
Pastry for hamantaschen (also good for rugelach or small tartlets)

1/2 lb. unsalted butter

1/2 lb. cream cheese

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Reminder: Purim is March 18th this year.

Sandra - about how many cookies do you think that amount of dough will make?

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Flo Greenberg (1947) uses a yeast kuchen dough and poppy seed filling. She gives Prune and cream cheese as alternatives, but I think those are heretical.

Kuchen Dough (adapted)

Flour 1 lb

Castor sugar 2oz

Milk 1/2 pt

1 pkt dry yeast (the original called for creaming fresh yeast with the milk)

Butter 2 oz

1 egg

Pinch salt

Sive the fry ingredients togethr. Melt the butter in the milk and cool to lukewarm. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and fold in. Knead to a smooth dough; leave in a warmplace to rise 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

Roll out and use as required.

To make the Haman Taschen cut a 4 inch circle of dough and put a spoonful of filling in the center.

Fold the sides in from three points to enclose the filling, leaving the top open

Put on a non-stick baking tray and brush the top with warm honey

Leave in a moderately warm place to double in size, then bake in a moderately hot oven - 400F

Poppy seed filling

Put the following in a saucepan and cook until thick:

1 cup poppy seeds

1.4 pt milk

2 oz butter

2 oz each chpped nuts and raisins

I tablespoon golden syruo (corn syrup)

1 oz chopped citron peel

Much easier bought.."What does a JP make for dinner? Reservations"

Mix

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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Does anyone know what the difference between hamantaschen and rugelach is? I grew up eating what I now label "rugelach", being a cookie with a cream cheese dough and apricot or nut filling. We didn't really have a name for them but they seemed to be pretty commonplace in Pittsburgh (along with a few other things, like pirogi, that maybe aren't so common elsewhere - my husband had never even had a pirogi at all until he met me, let alone eating them in the school cafeteria...).

Jennie

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Hamantashen are triangular. Thre are two common types: cookie-ish, with dough similar to butter or sugar cookies and the filling showing through an indentation on the top of the cookie, and the turnover-raised -yeast- dough type, with the filling all tucked away inside. Every year I have to get several of each to do the annual taste test. :biggrin:

Rugelach are usually made from a cream cheese or sour cream dough and rolled up like crescent rolls.

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Hamantasch

Rugelach

While the ingredients can be similar the construction is different. Hamantaschen are made by rolling out the dough, cutting circles, putting filling in the middle of each circle and pionching up the edges to make a filled, triangle. Rugelach are made by rolling the dough out into a big circle, spreading the filling thinly over the dough, then cutting the circle into trianglular wedges about 2 inches wide at the edge (like pizza slices, but smaller) and rolling the wedges up to form a spiral.

N.B. Hamantasch - singular

Hamantaschen - plural

Rugule - singular

Ruglelach - plural

Edited by Sandra Levine (log)
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Time of the year is different as well.

Haman Taschen are for Purim

Rugelach are Shavuot and Hanuka.

To eat Haman Taschen at any other time of year would be like eating Simnel Cake other than on Mothering Sunday...but maybe Easter traditions are another thread.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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To eat Haman Taschen at any other time of year would be like eating Simnel Cake other than on Mothering Sunday...but maybe Easter traditions are another thread.

I don't know what Simnel Cake or Mothering Sunday are; however, my local kosher bakery (Moishe's on 7th St. and 2nd Av. in Manhattan) makes the hard hamantashen all year but makes the much better soft, breadier hamantashen only around Purim. They started being available again recently, and I bought a prune one which I found delicious.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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The Hungarian Coffee Shop on 111th and Amsterdam used to make the greatest Hamentaschen, and they were a year-round treat. I wonder if they're still good, I haven't been there in ages. I used to have a great recipe for Hamentaschen, the dough was made without yeast and called for orange juice, it was wonderful and soft and chewy, but it got lost in transition. :sad: Maybe I'll try to resurrect it.

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My mother's hamentaschen recipe comes from, believe it or not, one of Maida Heatter's books. It's a regular cookie dough with grated orange and lemon peel, and Mom fills them with lekvar augmented with chopped walnuts. They're nice and small (not like the bakery behemoths) and they stay soft if wrapped properly.

I hope she'll have made them by the time I see her on Saturday!

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The Hungarian Pastry Shop used to be one of my regular hang outs. I don't remember the hamantaschen, but the Poppy Strudel was to die for. We starving students could really nurse a pot of tea and plate of strudel.

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