Hamantaschen for Purim
Today is Purim – the springtime festival where Jews celebrate their freedom from persecution. It is also the time when hamantaschen, the triangular shaped pastry is made signifying the hat of the villain”Haman.” These little pastries can be stuffed with a poppy seed, prune or fruit filling.
This delightful treat can be found in bakeries everywhere during the month of March but it’s delicious to have anytime of year.
This recipe adds the touch of cinnamon, vanilla and orange juice to give it that extra touch. Prepare the filling one day and the dough the next, bringing it all together to bake creating a comforting aroma in your home. My favorite version uses prunes, I think you’ll like these!
makes 3 cups
- 16 ounces soft, dried-pitted, prunes, fine quality
- 8 ounces seedless raisins
- 3/4 cups orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Makes 30 hamantaschen
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature, cut into tablespoons
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, divided and beaten
- 4 cups unbleached all- purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- Prune Filling: Combine the prunes, raisins, and orange juice in a medium- sized saucepan and cook on a medium low flame, stirring with a silicon spatula, about 10 minutes. Add the cinnamon and sugar, reduce the heat to low., and simmer until soft, an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Let cool to room-temperature and place in a food processor with the blade attachment Pulse until almost smooth. Store in refrigerator until you are ready to fill the hamantaschen. You will have a little more than you need, about 3/4 cup. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 1 month. Try it with your favorite morning muffin.
- Dough:Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer with the paddle attachment on medium high speed until the butter is smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar in two additions and beat, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Gradually add 2 eggs and the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture to the mixer in two additions, alternating with the orange juice. Mix just until the dough clumps together and the sides of the bowl are almost clean.
- Gather up the dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Knead a few times until smooth. Divide the dough in half and shape each portion into a 1 inch thick rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (The dough can be refrigerated up to 1 day, but it will be very hard, and should stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling out. The dough can also be frozen, double wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight. You can make both, or you can save one for another time.
- Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350º F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper or silpat baking mats.
- Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Lightly flour the work surface. Unwrap the dough and rap the edges on the work surface (to help avoid cracking during rolling). Place the dough on the work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 1/8-inch thick rectangle. Using a 3 3/4 inch-diameter fluted cutter, cut out the circles and place them on the pan. Separate the layers with parchment paper so they do not stick to one another. Continue rolling and cutting out the circles until all the cookies has been rolled out. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Use a small pastry brush to egg wash the edge of each circle. (This will help keep the hamantaschen from opening while they are baking.) Using a 1 1/4 -inch diameter ice cream scoop ( about 1 well-rounded teaspoon) place the prune filling in the center of the rounds. Fold the dough into triangles (see photos below) and place on a the prepared pans. Bake until golden brown about 25-30 minutes. Bake the hamantaschen, switching the position of the baking pans from top to bottom and front to back, until they are lightly browned. Cool on the tray.