This past week was the Jewish holiday of Purim. It is the celebration of the ancient Jewish people in Persia and the defeat of Haman, who was plotting their destruction. There’s clearly much more background to this holiday and I encourage you to read more about it. Part of the celebration includes eating Hamantaschen. These small triangular pastries that symbolize the hat of Haman.
This year my girlfriend decided to try her hand at baking them from scratch. The results were delicious. Below is the basic recipe that she followed, making about 20 cookies.
- 1 ½ cups (8 oz.) Poppy seeds
- 2 large Eggs, beaten
- 1 cup Milk
- ¼ cup Unsalted Butter
- ¾ cup Sugar
- ¼ cup Honey
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 2 ¼ cups Flour
- ⅔ cup Sugar
- ¼ cup Canola oil
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla
- 2 large Eggs
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1 – 5 tsp Water (If Needed)
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add milk and sugar and simmer until sugar completely dissolves.
- Separate approximately 1 cup of hot liquid.
- Slowly drizzle this liquid into beaten eggs, whisking constantly. (This slowly brings up the temperature of the eggs without turning them into scrambled eggs)
- Add the tempered egg mixture to the rest of the saucepan.
- Continue to simmer until mixture thickens and becomes a darker yellow. This took approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and fold in poppy seeds.
- Set aside to cool completely. Don’t start preparing the dough until this is ready, as the dough will dry out if not done immediately.
- Begin by preheating oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sift flour into a mixing bowl, adding baking powder and salt.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, canola oil and vanilla.
- Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix until clumps form.
- Remove from mixing bowl and continue to knead until a dough forms. If too dry add a teaspoon of water, if too wet add a little flour. Avoid overworking the dough.
- Lightly flour a smooth, clean surface. Roll out dough and flatten until approximately ¼ inch thick.
- Cut dough into circles that are 3 inches in diameter (use a cookie cutter or a glass with a 3 inch diameter).
- While preparing cookies for baking, cover the rest of the circles with a dampened paper towel to prevent them from drying out.
- Forming the signature triangular shape is the most important and difficult part. Fold over the left side. Then fold the right side forming a point at the top, and overlap the left piece. Then fold the bottom up, overlapping on the right side but tucking it underneath the first flap on the left. This makes the pinwheel shape that is traditional and keeps the filling from coming out during baking. Now pinch all 3 corners.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown.