By Jessica Fischman
Hamantaschens are typically eaten on the Jewish holiday of Purim, which commemorates the Jews being saved from execution from the ancient Persian Empire. The king at the time, King Achashverosh, arranged a beauty pageant to find a new queen. Esther, a Jewish woman, won; however, she did not tell anyone that she was Jewish. Haman, an anti-semite, was appointed prime minister of the empire, who wore a three pointed hat, and planned to kill all the Jews. Esther, with much courage and fear that the king would not help her, came forward and told the king she was Jewish, and Haman was publicly executed. The hamentashens symbolize the three pointed hat that Haman wore and we eat them to satirize him and celebrate his weakening.
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1-5 tsp water (if needed)
Start by cutting up the room temperature butter into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar to the bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Then add the egg, vanilla, and orange zest. Mix all the ingredients until creamy.
Sift the flour and salt into the bowl. Mix with your electric mixer on a low speed until a crumbly dough forms. This can also be done without an electric mixer, but mixing time will be a few minutes more.
Knead the dough with your hands until a smooth ball forms. If it crumbles then add more water, one teaspoon at a time. The consistency should be tacky, not sticky and firm enough to roll out. *Add water very slowly.
After your dough is formed, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill for 3 hours or more.
Before you make your hamantaschens, have your filling ready to use. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly flour a flat surface and unwrap the dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to ¼ inch thick. When the dough is about ¼ inch, re-flour the surface and turn the dough over and continue rolling the dough to about ⅛ inch. *The thinner the dough is the crisper the cookie will be.
Now, use a 3-inch cookie cutter or 3-inch drinking glass to cut the circles. Then place a teaspoon of your choice of filling into the center of each circle.
To create the hamantashen, fold the left side of the circle and fold it toward the center to make a flap that covers a third of the circle. Do the same to the right side and now the top should a triangular tip at the top. Then to fold the bottom, fold it upward and tuck the left side of this new flap underneath the left side of the triangle, while keeping the right side of this new flap overlap the right flap of the triangle. Then pinch each corner to secure the filling.
When all of the hamantaschens have been filled, place them evenly spaced on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Place them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until cookies are a golden color.
My recipe was inspired by and references Tori Avey’s recipe, so for any further guidance refer to Tori Avey’s Buttery Hamantaschen.