Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hooray for Hamentaschen!

My fondest memory of Purim is being at a Purim party at my synagogue when I was about 9 or 10, and my best friend's dad got sooo drunk when we were reading the Megillah (the story of Purim). My friend's dad was a very quiet, reserved man (and was also slightly more religious than I was familiar with) and to see him drunk was the shock of shockers.

The reason he was drunk was because when you are reading the Megillah, you are supposed to drink and make lots of noise every time the name "Hamen" is read (he's the villian in the story). And the reason we eat hamentaschen (translation: Hamen's pockets), is to symbolically destroy his memory. And they are triangles is because it seems Hamen wore a triangular-shaped hat (how fashionable!).

Anywho, unfortunately I don't really have a personal story behind hamentashen other than that are yummy, and I'm sick of spending $5 for 6 of them at Whole Foods. Guess what? I like mine better, though the ones at Whole Foods are definitely prettier (the picture at the top is of one of the good ones that I made...scroll down for a glimpse at how most of the rest of the gang came out).

Note: I found this dough really, really sticky and it was hard to work quickly with it, which is why I think my cookies were so sad looking in the end. If they were colder when they went into the oven, maybe they wouldn't have collapsed as much.

Apricot Hamentaschen
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons cold butter
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup apricot preserves

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar and baking powder. Then, using a pastry blender (or 2 knives in a criss-crossing motion), cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients, until the mixture resembles a crumb consistency.

In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in to larger bowl and mix until the dough creates a ball. Add extra flour one tablespoon at a time if dough is too sticky. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly flour your work surface, and roll out 1/4 of the dough to 1/8" thickness. Cut into rounds using a cookie cutter or drinking glass (I used a 4" drinking glass). Spoon 1 teaspoon of apricot preserves into the center of each round. Bring up the edges to create 3 sides, and pinch corners together (wet your fingers if the dough won't stay closed). Places formed cookies 2" apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is used.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown the bottom and on corners. Transfer to a wire rack immediately.

Yields 24 cookies (using a 3"round cookie cutter; I got 20 with a 4" glass)


EthidiumBromide said...

The problem is likely not the dough (though your dough recipe is quite different from mine -- mine is not sticky at all; recipe will go up on my blog later today once mine are done baking) but rather the pinching method. Pinching rarely holds the walls together and causes them to collapse. Next time, try actually FOLDING three sides over into the middle over the filling. If it's actually folded, it can't collapse the way a pinched corner will; I can't promise that each one will look perfect, but even though mine don't look quite like a pastry shop, none of them have come out like a puddle like years past when I have tried the pinch method.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Who cares if they're not perfect? I think they look delicious. That's what counts!

Robin said...

funny story, Dori! I also buy the $5 box at Whole Foods - it is such a silly indulgence, but they are my favorite sweet...I might just have to try your recipe (although I am not a baker!)

The Shiksa said...

Just discovered your blog, great work! I know what you mean about the hamantaschen collapse problem. Ethidium is right, the pinch never quite does it for me, especially with gooier fillings. Also, roll the dough out as thin as possible before baking. I describe the process on my hamantaschen blog, and also the story behind the cookies:

Good luck!

Scottish Lily Jewelry said...

Nice!! I love making hamentaschen!!!!
Have you tried making them with chocolate chip or apple butter filling???? sooo good!

Scottish Lily Jewelry said...
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