My sister and I always bake several different kinds of cookies for Christmas – sugar cookies, anise cookies, pecan tarts, Spritz, gingerbread cookies and sometimes Springerle. This year, while going through my mom’s recipe box, I wanted to make something different. I stumbled across this recipe card for hamantaschen, written in my paternal grandmother’s handwriting. From what I could tell of the recipe, it seemed to be little cookies filled with preserves – although the recipe called for prune butter. I decided to make them with apricot and strawberry preserves, since we had two open jars.
Here is how they turned out! Now, if you know anything about hamantaschen, you would know that I did not make these the correct way. The recipe card simple said, fold into a triangle. Um…the last time I attempted something like that was when I made samosas, and I didn’t feel like dealing with that. So instead I just made little pierogi-style packets, stuffed with preserves.
After I made them, I looked them up on Wikipedia. Here is what a hamantasch is supposed to look like:
In fact, hamantasch are a Jewish pastry that is traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim, which celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people from the Haman’s plot to annihilate them – and the recognizable tri-corner shape is supposed to represent the shape of Haman’s hat or his ears (a symbol of the enemy they defeated, I guess?). The name hamantasch refers to Haman, and is believed to be derived from either “ears of Haman” or a corruption of the German word mohntaschen, which means “poppyseed-filled pouch.” In Israel, they still call them Oznei Haman, for “Haman’s ears.” My grandmother wasn’t Jewish, but was German and grew up in New York City, so perhaps that is where this recipe comes from?
To make the dough, simply combine the following ingredients in order that they are listed:
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups of flour
- preserves or filling
Add enough flour so that the dough is no longer sticky – I added considerably more than 3 cups!
Split the dough into four pieces, and set aside three. One at a time, roll out to very thin. This was about 1/4 inch thick, and turned out way too thick – I think because of the amount of baking powder in the dough.
I cut them into circles using a mini-pie crust cutter. At least, I think that’s what it is. I found it in one of our drawers stuffed with kitchen equipment… Now, next time I know to just fold three different sides over and put the jam or preserves in the middle….
But I folded them over and in half, like little pockets.
I also wasn’t sure how much preserves to use. I used about a teaspoon per cookie.
Then I folded them over and pinched shut.
And brushed with an egg wash (one egg plus two tablespoons of water).
Yum! (Note that my egg wash went on pretty thick…lol.)
They turned out pretty tasty, although I think they would be better if I made them the correct way – then the preserves wouldn’t have seeped out! Ha!