Apricot Hamantaschen

Apricot HamantaschenHamantaschen Noshin’
I don’t think it’s any great revelation to say that food often plays a starring role in holidays. This is especially true when one is referring to the Jewish holiday of Purim, which starts today.

Purim has a number of customs and one of them is handing out gifts of triangle-shaped filled cookies called Hamantaschen. I did not grow up in a Jewish household but my husband did. And, I can honestly say that any custom that encourages the sharing of cookies is good with me.

The only constant with Hamantaschen is their shape. Even the spelling varies. The filling is as wide-ranging as the people who make them. Traditional filling is made with prunes and walnuts. But, you can also find poppy seed, apricot (my favorite), honey pecan, chocolate chip, cherry…even Nutella. Whatever you dream up to fill the cookies works.

Same goes for the dough. You can use a yeast dough, rugalach dough, or (my personal preference) a butter cookie dough. As long as you get that triangle shape you’re good to go.

Of course, if you don’t want the hassle of making them yourself, we’ve got a number of varieties available from Grand Bakery ready for you to get your Hamantaschen Nosh on…

This recipe for Apricot Hamantaschen is a combination of a one I found on King Arthur’s website and others I have pulled from some of my favorite Jewish cooking books. Feel free to play with it a bit—or use your own butter cookie dough recipe. You can also use apricot preserves instead of the filling below for faster oven to mouth time…

Apricot Hamantaschen
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

For the Cookies
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg plus 1 egg white (reserve the yolk)

For the Filling
1/2 cup golden raisins, packed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoons honey
1 cup finely diced dried apricots
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup apple juice
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped or grated

Make the Cookies
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.Add the remaining ingredients and mix until a cohesive dough forms.

Divide the dough in half, wrap it well, and refrigerate it for 1 hour or overnight.

Make the Filling
While the dough is chilling, place all the filling ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. When the mixture thickens and a spoon or spatula scraped across the bottom of the pot leaves a clean spot that doesn’t fill in, remove the filling from the heat. Refrigerate until chilled.

Assemble the Cookies
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare several parchment-lined baking sheets.

Working with one half of the dough at a time, flour it thoroughly, and roll it into a 16″ x 18″ rectangle approximately 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick.

Cut the dough into circles with a 3 1/2″ round cutter or a pint glass. Place the circles on the prepared baking sheets, and place a rounded teaspoonful of filling in the center of each circle.

Brush the edges of the dough with the reserved egg yolk, which you’ve beaten with 1 tablespoon water.

Bring three of the “sides” together to meet in the center, forming what looks like an old-fashioned tricorner hat. Pinch the edges together to seal.

Bake the hamantaschen for 12 to 14 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom and edges. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool; they’ll firm up and become crisp as they cool.

Store covered at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to a month.

Comments are closed.