Friday, February 26, 2010
Purim begins this weekend, and I thought a batch of Hamentaschen were in order. Growing up, the bakery near our house made Hamentaschen that were more like a sweet roll. They were yeast risen, and the filling were concealed within the glazed triangles. Only the ladies behind the counter at Kauffman's knew for certain what you were getting, because there wasn't really any hint from the outside. They did all the traditional apricot, poppyseed, and prune flavours but they also made one with almond paste that I've never run across anywhere else. Obviously, living in nut-allergy central here, I didn't try to re-create that one. In Massachusetts I would see fillings with sesame paste, or chocolate, but they also tended to be available year round. I don't know about you, but I like my Hamentaschen at Purim.
I followed the recipe for the pastry and prune filling HERE. For the poppyseed and apricot I improvised with excellent results. I'll list those below. The only change I made to the original pastry recipe was exchanging orange zest for lemon and using a bit more.
These are without question the very best Hamentaschen I've ever made. The rich, cookie pastry is delicious beyond description, though the dough is a pain in the arse to work with (keep it chilled). I don't think I would ever return to my old recipe after making these-how could I? In fact, they are so good, I might (gasp!) make them when it isn't Purim. I probably wouldn't shape them into triangles, and I might call them Kolaches, which they basically are.
You'll have extra filling, but I doubt you will have much difficulty finding uses for it, and if inspiration fails you, there's always the argument that you need the dried fruit for bowel health. Or you could make more cookie dough. I'm sure it'll all come out all right.
For the poppyseed filling:
1 cup poppy seeds, soaked 3 hours and drained well
1/4 cup chopped raisins
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Squeeze of lemon juice
Mix together well, adding more raisins, and honey if needed to bind. Chill until needed. You can grind it in a blender if you like, but I found that necessary (and messy).
For the Apricots:
1 lb. dried apricots
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Squeeze lemon juice
Place the apricots in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until apricots are very soft-about 40 minutes. Drain. Chop well (I actually used a hand chopper so I could retain a bit of the fruit texture), mix in everything else and chill before using.