The best Hamantaschen recipe
Hamantaschen are like mini pies that Jewish people eat during the festival of Purim, which just happens to be this Wednesday. They’re one of those delicacies that my mum always makes for the community and all of the family. Each year before Purim we pick up the girls from Grandma’s after school and we collect little cling filmed wrapped paper plates full of Hamantachen. Very few actually make it through the 10 minute journey home!
When I first made Hamantaschen last year I used my mum’s pastry recipe for Kichel biscuits (I must share that recipe with you some time!) These are simple and moorish round biscuits that are perfect in my eyes. As I also use this pastry recipe for larger apple pies I thought it would be perfect for Hamantaschen. I was wrong! They were really soggy, broke the moment you touched them and just didn’t look like my mum’s! Then she told me that she uses the Kichel Hamantaschen recipe from ‘The bible’!
Unbeknownst to me ‘The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook, by Evelyn Rose published by Pavillion (see the link to Amazon on the right) is commonly known as ‘The bible’ by lots of Jewish families and not just mine! We also call it ‘The Red book’ for obvious reasons.
I was given the original version of this book (the black one) for my Bat Chayil in 1985. (there I go giving away my age!) When the new version came out in 1992 mum bought me and my brother and sister a copy each and we’ve all been using it ever since. I’ll be doing a full review of this book later this week. It’s a great book.
So back to the Hamantaschen.
After last year’s disaster I set about making them again, only this time I used the red book’s recipe. It was a short pastry and made lovely Hamantaschen, but they weren’t the same as my mum’s which have the most delicious pastry. The kind that you don’t mind if you eat a corner of a Hamantaschen without any filling as it’s good on its own. What I had made were crumbly and practically all of them opened up when baked- but I probably didn’t squish the pastry together well enough!
So I called my mum “What pastry do you use?” I asked. To which she replied. “I use the old book, not the new one”. They have completely different recipes.
So, off I went again. Just as I was about to start mum called me back to say that the pastry is sticky (as it uses oil not butter) and she always adds a bit more flour. I took this on board and set about with Hamantaschen Mark II. But I didn’t read the recipe properly and as I was so busy thinking about how much extra flour to put in that I accidentally added double the amount! Evelyn Rose recipes often give the either or version for flour and I missed that and added both! So what my mum said would be a sticky dough was so dry it wouldn’t bind together at all!
I was not winning!
Hamantaschen Mark III
Finally success! I used the old book with the right amount of ingredients and they came out perfectly (maybe a bit puffier than I would have liked) but they tasted just like mum’s so I was finally happy and ready to share them with you…..
Hamantaschen recipe (from the old black book)
125g caster sugar
2 large eggs (put some to one side for glazing)
100ml (4 Fl oz) oil – Sunflower is best
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
150g plain flour (plus a table spoon or two more to reduce stickiness)
150g self raising flour (plus a table spoon or two more to reduce stickiness)
Filling ingredients (from the new red book)
225g baking apples (peeled and cored and cooked till tender)
3 tbsp walnuts (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g brown sugar
To make the pastry
Heat the oven to 180°c, 350°F, gas mark 4. Line baking trays with baking paper.
Whisk the eggs until they are thick
Add the sugar, oil and vanilla extract and whisk again.
Stir in the flours. I added a table spoon of each flour at a time to reduce the stickiness of the dough but I think I would use more plain and less self-raising next time.
You can roll out the dough straight away but I chilled it while I got the fillings ready.
I cheat and use tinned fruit. The apricots (in natural juice) are chopped up and sprinkled with a little sugar brown.
The apple is cubed and mixed in with the raisins, brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. I soften the raisins in the microwave by adding some water to them in a bowl and giving them a minute on full heat.
The dough is really stretchy so needs a little kneading before you roll it out on a floured surface. Roll the dough to a thickness of around ½ cm. If it’s too thick it won’t taste as good and if it’s too thin it will tear when you fold them up. Use a 7cm round cutter to create the circles.
Fold each side over to create a triangle shape. Leave a small gap at the centre for steam to escape. Press the pastry edges together firmly so they don’t pop open in the oven.
Brush the top with beaten egg to give it a nice glaze. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tops become golden.
Once baked, leave on a wire rack to cool. They will keep for three days in an air tight container. I had visitors yesterday after I made them and they didn’t last! I am about to have the last one with a cup of tea! I guarantee they won’t last a day!
N.B. It’s worth mentioning that these are Parve so if you keep to a kosher diet you can make these as a desert after a meat meal. Yay!