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Purim Recipe: Homemade Hamentashen

The following recipes were written exclusively for Challah Connection by Mary Goodbody and Judith Sutton nationally acclaimed food writers, cookbook editors and recipe developers. Among some of the books they have written or edited are, Sweet Gratitude: Bake a Thank-You for the Really Important People in Your Life; Truffles: Ultimate Luxury, Everyday Pleasure; Recipes for a Very Small Island; and The Family Kitchen (coming Spring 2006).

DOUGH:

Enough dough (1 pound, 5 ½ ounces; 615g) for about 24 cookies

  • 2 cups (8 ½ - 9 oz; 240g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (¼ oz., 10g) baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (4 oz; 110 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (3/4 oz; 25g), at room temperature (or use additional butter)
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 oz.; 175g) sugar
  • 1 large egg (2 oz; 55 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice (¼ fl. oz.; 10 ml) or milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (5 ml)

About 24 teaspoons (8 tablespoons) Sour Cherry Filling or Lemon Poppy Seed Filling (recipes follow)

  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash (optional)
  • Decorating (coarse) sugar (optional)
  • Semisweet Chocolate Drizzle (recipe follows)
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Combine the butter and shortening in a large bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until light and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, mixing until thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the orange juice, and then beat in the vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in two additions.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a few times just until the dough comes together. If the dough is very sticky, knead in another tablespoon or so of flour. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm enough to roll. (The dough can be refrigerated overnight. If necessary, let stand at room temperature briefly to soften slightly before rolling out.)
  4. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out as many rounds from the dough as possible; gather up the scraps and reserve. Spoon a generous 1 teaspoon filling into the center of each round. Fold three sides of the dough over to form a triangular pastry, leaving a little of the filling exposed in the center, and pinch the seams to seal. Transfer to the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between the pastries. If desired, brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Combine all the dough scraps and roll out to make more pastries.
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the pastries are lightly golden around the edges. Transfer the pastries to a rack to cool completely. When cool, drizzle with chocolate, if desired.

SOUR CHERRY FILLING

Makes about 1 cup

  • ¾ cup (4 ¾ oz.; 135g) sugar
  • ¾ cup (6 fl. oz; 170ml) water
  • 1 cup (5½ oz; 155g) dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
  1. Combine the sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the cherries; reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are very plump and soft, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
  2. 2. Transfer the cherries (with their syrup) to a food processor, add the orange zest, if using, and process to the consistency of thick jam. The filling can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

EXTRA: Semisweet Chocolate Drizzle

Makes about 1/3 cup

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped and melted
  • 3 tablespoons cream

Stir the cream into the hot, melted chocolate until smooth. Drizzle over the cookies, if desired. If the chocolate drizzle is too thick, increase the amount of cream by ½ to 1 tablespoon.

LEMON POPPY SEED FILLING

Makes about ¾ cup (6 oz; 165g)

  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz., 60 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (2 fl oz.; 60 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (1oz; 28g) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons (1 ½ oz.; 40g) sugar
  • ½ cup (1 ½ oz.; 45g) ground poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz; 15g) chopped white or black raisins (we used white)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (optional)
  1. Combine the lemon juice, water, butter, and sugar in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter.
  2. Add the poppy seeds, raisins, and lemon zest, if using, and stir well. Cook for a minute or so, just until the filling is thick and the ingredients are well mixed. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. The filling can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.