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Monday, 18 February 2013

Plum Hamantaschen

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summary: SAVEUR magazine’s Hamantaschen; a rant about recipe instructions; (click on image to see larger views and more photos)

Apparently, Purim is next weekend. How fitting that we will be able to give Hamantaschen to our friends! But we just have one question. Isn’t Ham disallowed in the Jewish diet? :lalala: (eeeheheeeeheeeeeeeeee)

hamantaschen I’ve said it before; I’ll say it again: I love SAVEUR magazine!

In this year’s SAVEUR 100 issue, there is a recipe for a cookie we’d never heard of. It looked great.

[W]e children were served cookies — jam and poppy seed-filled triangles representing, we were told, Haman’s three-cornered hat. Now, the cookies I knew. They were hamantaschen. My grandmother made delectable jewel-like versions year-round; they blew the Youth Center’s dry, cakey ones away. Grandma Syl’s flaky cream cheese pastry was shaped into tiny triangles framing sweet dollops of her homemade raspberry and apricot-pineapple jams.

-Betsy Andrews, Hamantaschen, SAVEUR 100, no.153 (December 2012)

We just happened to have some cream cheese in the fridge. And of course, we always have butter and flour on hand.

We didn’t have any raspberry jam but we do have a jar of our apricot jam in the basement. However, after a brief discussion, we decided it was too precious to use it on anything but bagels or croissants. (Remind me to make bagels and croissants soon!)

So we used plum jam instead. And next time, if there’s no more plum jam left, we’ll use grape jam. If this is wrong wrong wrong, please don’t send the Hamantaschen Police after us.

Interestingly, the shaping for Hamantaschen is not unsimilar to the shaping for the Assyrian Spinach Pies we just made.

In fact, if I had made Hamantaschen BEFORE I made the Spinach Pies, I would have used the same method of shaping.

As we were struggling to form the Hamantaschen, we had a major revelation. We discovered that rather than plopping the filling onto the circle of dough, if we began shaping the triangle and then put the filling in, it was much much easier to make the final shape.

hamantaschenhamantaschenhamantaschen

We pretty much followed the SAVEUR recipe, which strangely calls for 4 oz cream cheese and 8 Tbsp butter. Not that it’s strange that it calls for cream cheese and butter. In fact, the addition of the cream cheese is what attracted us to the recipe.

It’s that they call for 4 ounces of one and 8 Tbsp of the other. Why not just say 4 ounces of each? Because, correct me if I’m wrong, this is right, is it not?

8 Tbsp butter = 4 ounces butter

And let’s not even get into the fact that SAVEUR is still weighing things in ounces instead of grams. (I do realize that there are plenty of more important things for President Obama to address but really, isn’t it high time to make the switch to metric? :stomp: The U.S. Metric Association points out that the USA is the only “significant hold out” – the page used to list USA and Burma (now Myanmar) as the only countries in the world that had not gone metric.)

The only changes we made to the recipe were to put in much less vanilla extract, using just the smallest splash rather than a teaspoon, and filling the cookies with tart plum jam instead of apricot or raspberry preserves. We also omitted the egg white and just used water.

Or at least we would have used water if we’d had our thinking caps on.

Form dough into a thin disk. Wrap disk in plastic wrap; chill for 30 minutes. Wrap disk in plastic wrap; chill for 30 minutes. [...]

Brush egg white around edges. Fold in edges to form a triangular package, leaving a small opening at the top. Refrigerate filled cookies for 30 minutes.

-excerpt from Hamantaschen Recipe, SAVEUR 100, no.153 (December 2012)

Chill the dough for 30 minutes? Well. That was a mistake! It made rolling the dough out very very difficult. And folding those cold circles was no picnic either.

Even though these looked done, they were still a little raw tasting on the inside.

hamantaschen

We put them back into a low oven (around 300F) for about 10 minutes until they were golden brown all over. The jam got wonderfully chewy on the edges making these seem more like candies than cookies.

They’re wonderful! So wonderful that they’re all gone already.

Oops!! Didn’t I say we would be giving these to our friends next weekend? Excuse me while I go down into the basement to get another jar of plum jam.

hamantaschen Changes that we plan to make the next time we make Hamantaschen:

  • Omit chilling the dough before rolling it. Our dough was plenty chilly enough already. Of course it was! In the winter, the kitchen is around 17C during the day.
  • Brush the edges of the circles with water before we pinch them closed! Otherwise the cookies burst their seams in the oven.

Happily, these still tasted delicious. But they’re really not the right shape, are they?

 

 

2 Comments for Plum Hamantaschen” »

  1. Comment by barbara — 18 February 2013 @ 20:22 EDT

    I read your comments on the Saveur site. Do you think you’ll try them with citrus zest?

    We considered it, Barbara, but decided that they’re really good exactly the way they are. Still, there is one part of me that is curious. I suspect they’d be delicious with a little bit of zest. Maybe if they have a poppy seed filling rather than plum jam. However, I can’t imagine switching from plum jam to poppy seed in the near future. The plum is too good. -Elizabeth

  2. Comment by Tanna — 20 February 2013 @ 23:47 EDT

    I can see why these would be memorable cookies. Sound good. Will have to try.

    They are really good, Tanna. I can’t wait to hear what yours turn out like – let me guess; your dough will have ground flax seed in it… :) But what kind of jam will you use? And will you decided to add citrus zest to the dough? -Elizabeth

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