Friday, February 22, 2013

Hamentaschen – 3 ways

IMG_00000779Coming back from Israel just yesterday, I wanted hamentaschen that reflected all that we’d enjoyed there, culinarily.  I didn’t quite hit the mark, but I did come up with two cute variations…

I used my usual dough recipe from Second Helpings, Please (image below), though I don’t love it because it tends to misbehave in unpredictable ways.  It has never come out the same way twice in twenty years (sigh, I feel so old saying that, but it’s true – the cookbook was a wedding present at my first wedding, and the children of that marriage are now far closer to 20 than to zero).

This time, I did it in the food processor, where, of course, it totally jammed and made a sticky mess.  Ultimately, I added a lot more flour than usual and they came out okay.  It doesn’t taste like it usually does, but it worked.

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I always do one batch with a classic prune filling – or, as my baker sister likes to say, dried plums.  It just sounds so much swankier that way.

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For the variations, I decided to do a halva filling like this one from Modern Manna, inspired by the awe-inspiring variety of halvas in the machaneh yehudah shuk:

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I made my filling with ordinary techina (tahini) that we had sitting in the fridge, mixed with a sugar-water syrup, but I also sprinkled in a bit of Starbucks instant coffee powder.  That may have been a mistake, because it actually masked a bit of the halva flavour.  Oh, well.  (you can see the basic recipe here)

The filling was gooey going in, but actually firmed up nicely, as promised, once baked.

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However, I was not entirely delighted with these, because the baked filling tasted a bit too much like peanut butter.  For all the (okay, small) effort I’d put in, I probably could have just used Skippy.  Weird.

IMG_00000778For an encore, on the same theme, I decided to do a batch inspired by the oodles of delicious, soft, fresh marzipan (in Hebrew, “martzipan”) that’s found in every candy shop and grocery store.  I had some yummy homemade almond paste in the freezer already (I use this recipe and freeze it in logs, instead of buying, because it’s WAY overpriced here!).

I cut off bits of still-frozen almond paste and added pareve chocolate chips for good measure:

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Now, this was the same dough that I used for the prune and halva hamentaschen, and I promise, I pinched them shut just as well. 

But for some reason, these ones ALL popped open:

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Still… once you’ve got almond paste, you really can’t go wrong.  Right?  Open-faced hamentaschen – why the heck NOT?

What are your hamentaschen variations this year???  Oh, yeah, and HAPPY PURIM!!!

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