Making Hamantaschen for Purim
What is a hamantaschen, you ask? Aside from being a long, confusing-when-unfamiliar Hebrew word, it’s actually a triangular cookie filled with jelly.The word is haman-taschen which translates to “Haman’s pockets,” and Haman is the villain of the story of Purim: the Jewish holiday when we eat these cookies.
Why would we make a cookie about our enemy’s pockets? Well some would say they’re actually inspired by his hat, a three sided hat to be precise. But nonetheless, I think it’s just something fun to make and eat to celebrate Purim and to remember who terrorized the Jewish people back in the day. From Haman to Hitler, I’m beginning to not like the fact that my name also starts with an “H”.
But all seriousness aside, we’re here to make some cookies!
There are two simple elements to the hamantaschen cookie: dough and filling. So first, let’s make the dough.
Start with a bit of salt, a tad of baking soda and a whole bunch of carefully sifted flour.
Next, add eggs, butter, vanilla extract and…honey.
How good does that look? Hamantaschen aren’t traditionally made with honey, it was just used in this particular recipe instead of sugar.
Give that a little stir until you get…
Your dough is going to be a bit sticky because of the honey but it’s still easy to work with especially if you flour your surface. At this point, you can refrigerate the dough for later use or use it right away to bake.
Grab a hunk of your dough and lay it out onto a well floured surface.
Flour your rolling pin or use wax paper to prevent your dough from sticking. Roll out into a thin layer.
Your dough will puff up so make sure the layer is indeed thin.
Use the rim of a glass to cut out circles from the dough. A glass is a good option because its heavy and sturdy enough to punch out circles in the dough.
Lay all your cookie circles onto a lined cookie sheet.
Now, the question is, what are we going to fill them with?! Typically we use jelly. Some traditional flavors of fillings are: poppyseed, apricot, raspberry, prune, or even, on occasion chocolate.
For my fillings, I chose to make three different kinds: apricot, raspberry and lemon. I used jelly for the apricot and raspberry and made my own lemon curd from meyer lemons I had leftover from that pie.
Now shape each cookie into a triangle by pulling up three sides. Use both hands to pull them up in one swift movement. Pinch down the corners so they’re secure and look like…
Now slide them into the oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Depending on how well of a job you do, they may or may not look like triangles anymore. Some of mine exploded and lost their shape entirely but hey, we all do the best we can…
In the end, they came out all right. I might have preferred sugar to the honey but this recipe overall wasn’t bad. I really liked the flavors I chose to, they not only made a colorful bunch but they’re the three best flavors!