This post is #2 in my Purim Prep series. Post #1 focused on poppy seed filling, after I’d made it a “mystery food” photo. Post #3 will focus on fillings.
This year I’ve baked 3 kinds of hamantaschen dough and 3 different fillings. All the doughs I used have the consistency of chocolate chip cookie dough. If you cook them longer, they will be crisp. They will be chewy If you remove them from the oven when they are still a bit puffy and when their bottoms are as golden brown as a model’s on a nude beach.
I tested these 3 dough recipes:
1) A buttery, golden dough from Tina Wasserman, which is available online, and in her lovely cookbook, Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora. Tina also provides a pareve alternative but I haven’t tried it. I was just told by an acquaintance who needs a vegan alternative that you can modify the pareve recipe with a vegan egg substitute.
If you’re as new to pastry-baking as I am, check out the “Tina Wasserman shows how to shape hamantashen” video on YouTube. But my cookies look wonky because I didn’t watch her video before shaping. I also never slow down enough to read user manuals before ripping open new stuff. My resultant cookies still taste good and are triangular (though not official triangles).
I couldn’t tell the difference between Wasserman’s and Schwartz’s doughs. They were the same consistency and equally delicious when baked, but Schwartz’s raw dough felt oilier to me and required more flour as I rolled out the dough. After a day in the refrigerator, the Schwartz dough became more cooperative, and to Schwartz’s credit, he provides specific handling techniques for cookie dough. He provides an accompanying chocolate filling recipe, but I didn’t try it because I wanted to make my own improvisational chocolate candy filling, in addition to using apple and poppy seed fillings.
3) Marcy Goldman’s Double Chocolate Hamantaschen.
As my daughter stirred together the milk, cocoa, and vanilla, magic chocolate pearls emerged.
We didn’t taste them because of the raw cocoa powder. It would have collapsed like chalk dust in our mouths.
I loved the consistency of this chocolate dough for rolling out and once it had baked, but the flavor was not chocolatey enough. When I make it again I will use a full cup of cocoa powder instead of the 2/3 cup that Goldman suggests. I might crush mini milk chocolate chips into the dough, even if that makes it harder to fold into its triangular shape. I’ll write more about the chocolate filling I made in my fillings post.
I learned from several hamantaschen experts that you should coat the interior and exterior of your hamantaschen with egg wash to keep the filling in, and to give the dough a little golden shine. I sort of plopped the egg wash on with my fingers because I was missing a pastry brush. I discovered that I should have used a pastry brush but the fingers did okay.
Here are three more links that are chock-full of hamantaschen dough tips and recipes (and don’t miss the link to a Marcy Goldman sour cherry filling):
1) A “Free Range on Food” discussion from the Washington Post’s Food section where talk of hamantaschen appears throughout. This discussion transcript mentions Marcy Goldman’s recipe for cream cheese hamantaschen dough, which sounds amazing, as does the accompanying sour cherry filling. If crispier hamantaschen pastry is your preference, one of the discussion contributors posted a recipe for a crispy variation.
Marcy Goldman’s cream cheese dough leads me to dream of hybridizing a strudel-hamantaschen cookie, using my adaptation of my grandmother’s strudel recipe, which I’ll provide in a Pre-Passover, pro-carb-binging post. A strudel-hamantaschen (strutaschen?) would result in a floppier, softer, unconventional pastry (bigger too, with the sides of the triangle at least 4 inches long). We’re talkin’ triangular strudel. A longer baking time will make the crust more cookie-like than flaky.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on fillings for all this dough.