This Saturday is Purim, it’s one of those holidays that I don’t do much for anymore but I loved celebrating it as a child and still can’t let a year pass without making some hamantaschen.
If you aren’t familiar with the holiday, Purim commemorates a time in Jewish history, when yes you guessed it we were saved from extermination. To sum it up a Persian King was in love with a Jewish woman, Esther and the King’s advisor Haman was trying to rid the land of the Jews. Thanks to Esther’s influence, the Jewish people we saved and Haman was hanged.
We eat hamantaschen as they are supposedly in the shape of the hat that Haman wore. There are many other reasons describing the cookie, but that was what I was taught!
Purim is a joyous holiday and as a kid I remember playing Esther in my hebrew school telling of the story, and all of the Purim carnivals I attended. My mom used to go on baking sprees making tons of hamantaschen as it is traditional to hand these out to family and friends.
I don’t think it surprises any of you that I’d pick out all the chocolate ones first and leave the prune ones for my Dad to eat!
This year I decided to try out a new dough recipe, not exactly traditional, but when am I? For a little extra flavor, plus added ease in rolling I included cream cheese in the dough. Feel free to fill this with whatever you like, my choice this year ended up being some Biscoff spread, nutella and fig jam. Oh and how ever you fold them, just make sure to close those seams tight, you don’t want any exploding hamantaschen in the oven!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated white sugar
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 8 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1 large egg, beaten
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- With a pastry blender or two knives, cut the cream cheese and butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
- Mix in the egg and bring the dough together.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently kneaded into a flat disc. The dough will be shaggy in the begging, so it might take a few turns until it is all together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Once the dough is cool, remove and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Roll half the dough out until it is ¼ inch thick and using a cookie cutter punch into rounds.
- Fill with your choice of filling, no more than ½ teaspoon filling on each cookie and fold or pinch the sides into a triangle.
- Continue with remaining dough.
- Bake for 20 minutes – the hamantaschen will be slightly pale on top and golden at the edges.
- Let cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.