This weekend is Purim. Purim is the celebration of Queen Esther, who saved her people from death. One can go to the bible and read all about it. Yet, I prefer the story told in a children’s book, Queen Esther Saves Her People by Rita Golden Gelman.
I picked this book up, years ago, at one of my all time favorite stores, Children’s Book World, For those of you who saw the movie, You Got Mail, Meg Ryan’s character owns a small bookstore; The Shop Around the Corner. Children’s Book World IS just that, the shop around the corner.
Every year at Purim, we read this book, together as a family and make Hamantaschen. This is a traditional pastry, made by forming three corners pinched together, representing Haman’s(the villain in the story) hat. This pastry has no rules. They can be filled with jam, preserves, nuts, caramel, chocolate, and the list goes on. I have made many variations, but today’s version is one of the better ones.
Last year I made a recipe from both Epicurious and from Marlene Sorosky. They were okay. The doughs varied quite a bit and I honestly was not motivated to make them again. Joan Nathan’s book, Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous is on my wish list so I googled her and Hamantaschen at the same time and this recipe came up. I am really happy with the dough. So easy to roll out, easy to shape, and when baked, it is not too sweet. Leave the sweetness to the filling – this is a perfect marriage.
This year, I filled my pastry with apricot preserves, fig spread, nutella, and raspberry jam. I baked a few off to test and froze the rest(unbaked), directly on the cookie sheet. We are going to a Purim party over the weekend. Before the party, I will bake the remaining pastries, package them up with a pretty little bow and take with me as a hostess gifts. Who wouldn’t want pastries shaped like silly little hats as a hostess gift?
2/3 cup(5.35 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
• preheat oven to 375*.
• whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. set aside
• in the bowl of your food processor fitted with the metal blade, cream butter and sugar together.
• add egg and vanilla.
• slowly add dry ingredients. mix thouroughly until the dough forms a ball.
• wrap dough in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
• roll out dough on a floured work surface to 1/8″ thickness.
• cut circles of your dough (this year, I made mine a bit smaller, using a 2 1/2″ round cutter).
• in the center of each circle put a small amouth (1/2 tsp.) of filling.
• dip your finger in some water and run your finger around the outer edge fo the dough. fold into a three cornered shape. I press two sides together, pinching them as I fold and then close up with the third side.
• line your baking sheet with a silpat pad. bake for 14-16 minutes or until the outer edge is golden brown.
The Urban Baker / SusanSalzman.com