Hamantaschen are triangular filled pastries which are traditionally served on the Jewish holiday of Purim. This year, Purim falls on Sunday, March 20, 2011. The word hamantaschen derived from two German words: mohn (poppy seeds) and taschen (pockets). Hamantaschen means "Haman's pockets." Haman was the villain of Purim as described in the book of Esther. The most popular explanation of why people eat this three cornered pastry on Purim is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. Eating an image of Haman's hat is a way to symbolically destroy his memory.
Bubbi Hanka, my cousin's grandmother, passed along her recipe for hamantaschen to her daughter-in-law Fay. Today I learned how to bake hamantaschen with Fay and her daughter Shonna. They sure taught me! Fay has been making her mother-in-law's recipe for the past 20 years. (It's the only thing she really bakes!) She has perfected the measurements and reminded me that no stand mixer is used in this recipe.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe.
Hamantaschen are made with different fillings. We used prune, lemon and blueberry fillings for the center of our hamantaschen.
Cracking the eggs was the easy part!
Then I got down and dirty! Fay made me use my hands to mix the ingredients together into a ball!
This is what the dough looked like after it had chilled in the fridge for 3 hours.
To roll out the dough:
1) Cover your work surface with a generous amount of flour.
2) Divide dough into four balls. Roll out one ball at a time to a thickness of about 1/8 inch.
3) Using the top of a glass or a cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can.
Fill the hamantaschen with a generous teaspoonful of the desired filling.
Fold in three edges of the circle to form triangles. Take note of the placement of my two thumbs. Shonna had to demonstrate this for me a couple of times. I was not very good at this part! Be sure to squeeze the corners together before baking.
Repeat this process with the remaining dough and filling.
Line on prepared pre-greased cookie sheets or parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake in the center of a preheated oven at 350 for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and serve!
Bubbi Hanka's Hamantaschen
(Makes 4-6 dozen)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 tbsp vanilla
Approximately 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
Prune: For every pound of prune filling, add one cup of orange juice, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and combine.
Overall, we used only about 3/4 of a pound of filling for all of the hamantaschen. However, at a kosher grocery store like Sobey's, fillings are pre-packaged and sold in 1 pound containers. The fillings can be frozen or, more hamantaschen will need to be made!
In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, combine all of the ingredients except the flour. Add flour one cup at a time and mix with hands. Knead together until fully combined and a soft but firm ball of dough is formed. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours. Let it rest on the counter for 5-15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking sheets with non stick spray or line with parchment paper.
Divide dough into 4 balls. Roll out on lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Cut out 3 inch circles using the top of a glass or a cookie cutter. Fill with a teaspoonful of filling and shape into an open triangle. Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes.
Thanks Fay and Shonna for teaching me how to make Hamantaschen.
Stay tuned for a kids version of this recipe later on this week when I bake with my adorable, little Ring Bearer Ryan.