Chef Lorne's Purim Hamentashen
Celebrate the Jewish holiday with an apricot-filled pastry.
Every year in the late winter/early spring, when trees are beginning to bud and flowers are peaking up after a long winter, my mind turns to Purim, the celebration of Jewish deliverance derived from a story in the Book of Esther. In addition to costumes and celebrations, Purim means Hamentashen, the triangle pastry that has come to symbolize the holiday. There are many interpretations of this filled cookie, and the one I am most fond of is that the triangle pastry represents the shape of the hat of Haman, the villain in the story.
The traditional fillings for Hamentashen are poppy seed (or “mun”), prune, or my favorite, apricot. The dough can include butter and cream cheese, but I use my grandmother’s recipe, which is an oil-based cookie dough, infused with a hint of orange flavor. Note that it is best to make fillings in advance so they can cool and that the oil-based cookie dough can be challenging to work with. My advice is to gently roll it out on a well-floured surface without applying any pressure on the rolling pin.
Hamentashen Cookie Dough
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 fresh orange juice
- Zest of one orange
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 cups flour
- Apricot filling, recipe below
- Blend all ingredients in order given using enough flour to make a soft dough that is not sticky.
- Knead and roll out to 1/4-inch thick, and using a cutter, cut out 3-inch circles.
- Place a teaspoon of filling on the center of each circle, and bring up the sides towards the middle, creating a triangle.
- Brush with an egg wash, sprinkle lightly with sugar if desired, and bake at 350 F until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.
- 2 cups dried apricots
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Place apricots in a non-reactive saucepan and cover with an inch of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, and cook until fork soft, approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Drain, and puree in a food processer. Combine warm puree with sugar and place over low heat until sugar dissolves, cooking for 5 minutes. Let cool completely before using.
Explore more traditional cookies, pastries and fillings in Pastry & Baking Arts.