Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hamantaschen Bread And Cake Style

The photograph is of a yeast-raised Hamantaschen filled with apricot. They are very bread-like, perhaps a bit more than I really would prefer. While I do not care for that style of pastry, Danny really enjoyed them (and ate two at lunch).

The second recipe is for the cake/cookie-style I usually bake.

As I've been under the weather lately, I made use of tinned apricot filling. Traditionally fillings of poppy seed or prune are used, though where I grew-up there was a bakery that did almond which I've never run across elsewhere.

One of the cookbooks I have shows a rather elaborate, fanciful cake shaped like a train with an engine and a few cars behind. Apparently, someone thought this would be just swell for Purim and stuck it in the book with a two-page photo spread. Guess who came carrying me the cookbook (A Taste Of Tradition, The How and Why of Jewish Gourmet Holiday Cooking by, Ruth Sirkis, 1972), pointing to the photograph. Yeah, good guess.

"Look mama, a train."

"Oh, would you look at that..."

"What is it for?"
(Squinting to read as he waves book around)" It says the cake is for Purim" (Thinks to self, "trains?")

"Purim is Thursday!"

(aloud) "Oh." (silently, "shit").

"Mama will bake it for Danny?"


Unless I wake up feeling a whole lot better tomorrow, I wouldn't bet on it. But at least there's Hamantaschen.

For the Bread-Style Pictured Above:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

5-6 cups all-purpose flour

2 eggs

1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water for wash

filling of your choice

Dissolve yeast in the warm water and let proof about fifteen minutes. In a saucepan, combine the milk, butter sugar and salt over low heat just until butter melts. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

In a large bowl, combine the milk/butter mixture with the yeast and eggs. Add two cups of the flour and beat well. Add the rest, a cup at a time until dough comes together. Slowly add enough as you knead to make a soft, yet elastic dough. Knead until smooth, about ten minutes. Place in a buttered bowl, cover and let rise about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, divide in half.

Roll each half into a rectangle 17x12 inches (oh, you needn't get out a ruler, just try to get it approximate) and with a four inch cutter, cut into rounds. Place a bit of filling in the centre and then moisten the edges with water. Pinch shut into diamond shapes and place on a greased baking sheet to rise again until nearly doubled-about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the tops with the egg wash and bake 15-20 minutes or until golden. Cool on racks. Makes about 30.

For the cake/cookie style click HERE to see last year's recipe.

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