Friday, 3 April 2015

Hamantaschen



I seem to have missed a whole month of blogging.  I have been very tardy in the posting department.  And very lapse in the photographing department.  Although I have been holding my own in the baking and eating department.  Time and technology don't seem to come together at mutually convenient times.  I need to find some way to blog whilst sleeping.  Or blog whilst baking.  A bit like "tidying as you go".  Given how *amazing* I am at that I expect that blogging as I go will be just as successful...

So, these Hamantaschen were scheduled for Purim.  Purim as in the beginning of March.  So, yes, I am a bit late. About five weeks late.  All going well, I should have five posts the end of this weekend...   

My knowledge of the Jewish calendar is primarily through Rose's Alpha Baking group.  Apparently the shape of these biscuits is said to replicate the three cornered hat of the Haman.  From what I understand the Haman was a bit of a nasty piece of work, who eventually found his end at the piece of a rope.  And armed with that knowledge I set off to bake them, even though I can't even pronounce the word.

The biscuit has two component parts.  A sweet cookie crust pastry (pate sucree) and a filling.  Rose supplies a recipe for the traditional poppy seed filling or suggests using apricot lekvar.

The making of the pastry is straight forward now.  I really must experiment with making pastry by hand, rather than always using a food processor.  The little boys love to help whenever it comes to using the food processor.  I am sure there is some base DNA which attracts males to tools with the power of dismemberment.  I have to admit I am not very calm and collected when they drag their chairs into the kitchen to help.  They haven't quite grasped the concept of the three stages of pastry making.  Nor the difference between ON and PULSE.  Happily, the pastry doesn't seem to suffer too much.  Perhaps my yelling "Pulse, just EIGHT PULSES!  Not ON!" relaxes the pastry - it has nil affect on my state of relaxation.

Pulsed until size of peas... or something
Pulsed until breadcrumbs with no sign of butter.

Rose recommends that the pastry be divided in half and then refrigerated for 30 minutes each.  From personal experience, listen to Rose.  This dough definitely needs to be firm to withstand the shaping process.  If the dough is too soft, it looks less like a Haman and more like a sow's ear.  The Hamantaschen's are a 3 inch (or whatever the diameter is of my largest cookie cutter) circle of dough, topped with a teaspoon of the filling of your choice.  Then through something that feels vaguely unnatural, you turn the sides of circle upwards to form a triangle.  This then encloses the filling which ends up just peeking out.  It should only just peek out to keep things looking neat after baking.  So if you start out with warmish dough, this unnatural triangulation process elicits quite a few swear words.  So listen to Rose and chill your dough.

Rolling of the dough to 1/8 inch.  How I love those Pastry Wands.

Soft dough is a no no.  I had to almost scrape these off the bench.


The poppy seed filling was its own little challenge.  I made two separate fillings - one with poppy seeds expiring in March 2015 and one expiring in October 2015.   The first mix with the technically expired poppy seeds tasted bitter.  The second mix, unfortunately tasted the same.  So either both bags were rancid, or that is just the way a billion poppy seeds taste en masse.  The poppy seed mix required that the poppy seeds were ground.  I didn't think Chris would appreciate poppy seeds through his burr coffee grinder so I attempted to grind them in my food processor.  Hopeless.  Then in the mortar and pestle.  Hopeless.  I think this is my new definition of futility.  The ground (or impervious) poppy seeds are then mixed into hot sweetened milk,  The poppy seeds should absorb the liquid.  Unless they are impervious poppy seeds, in which case you get a milky seed mix.

My best shaped Hamantaschen's were those with the chilled firm dough and with the firmer lekvar.

They look cute
The unrefrigerated dough was soft after baking as well


I have to say I preferred the lekvar versions.  So did everyone in our house.  I could tell because the poppy seed versions were still hanging round a week later.  These are definitely not on my bake again list - not just because I can't pronounce the word.

Do the poppy seeds hamantaschen look like a bikini wax?

3 comments:

  1. Do you know what the danger is for me reading your posts now? It makes me nostalgic for everything that was baked and eaten. It all looks so good and takes me back to what I've already forgotten, longing for a cup of tea and few of these. I actually liked the prune filling.

    ReplyDelete
  2. LOL! You had me spit out drinking water when I read your last sentence..LOL! Next time I cannot drink water and read your blog post at the same time. You are hilarious!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bikini wax, LOL!! I'm so glad I read that a month after eating them!! I can just imagine the chaos of little boys and the food processor. They must love it!

    ReplyDelete