I have posted my Hamentashen recipe twice before in my blog (here and here). For the first time in more years than I can remember, I have made some changes to my recipe. If you can hold back you gasps, I will explain and post my new recipe below. I have been baking for many years now and I have a number of items that I have always done in a particular way. I also have a go to book for Jewish baking that I consult with all the time. The book is called “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking” by Marcy Goldman. This is a great cook book and covers all the basics of both baking in general and Jewish baking in particular. If you want to learn about baking, buy the book. If you already bake, buy the book. It has helped me numerous times.
My Hamentashen recipe differed from others because I tried to create a VERY light dough with a minimum of flour in the recipe itself. My reasoning was that as you roll out the dough you add more flour and as you keep re-rolling you continue to add more flour. Eventually I would find that the last rounds I would cut would be much too dry to shape into proper Hamentashen. The downside was always that I had to closely watch them as they baked. I would need to take them out just as they began to turn brown. Any less time and they would fall apart and any longer and they started to burn. I figured for a couple of days a year I can stick close to my oven. My dough was also very sweet (which certainly made it popular with my kids!)
I have not really looked at another recipe in a long time. People had given me recipes over the years and I have glanced at them, but I always said to myself, mine was better. Year after year, I would taste other homemade Hamentashen that I would get on Purim, and year after year I was satisfied that mine were the best of the bunch. Today I decided to just take a look at Marcy Goldman’s Hamentashen recipe. I was somewhat surprised that the recipe was very close to my own, with some significant changes. First off, she had more flour in the recipe than I did; significantly more. My recipe as printed in my blog had two cups of flour for ½ cup of shortening. Her recipe was double mine, and as printed said “at least four cups of flour”. It seems the same, but one of my little secrets was that I did not follow my own recipe and I used closer to 1 ½ cups in my single batch, or 3 cups in a batch equal to hers. That meant that she was using a whole cup more than me. If I were to put that much extra in my dough, I felt it would dry up much too quickly. Then I noticed that she dealt with that problem by adding more liquid. I call for 2 teaspoons of vanilla in my double batch (or orange juice) and she called for ¼ cup of orange juice and two teaspoons of vanilla. I had two eggs and she had three. The only other difference was the lower amount of sugar that she used. I had two cups, and she had a cup and a half. I think as I have gotten older, my need for the extra sweetness had lessened, so I was open to this idea as well.
Here, then, is my NEW Hamentashen recipe, based on my original recipe and Marcy Goldman’s.
2 Sticks of Margarine
1 ½ Cups of Sugar
¼ Cup of Orange Juice
2 teaspoons of Vanilla
2 ½ teaspoons of Baking Powder
½ teaspoon of salt
4 ½ Cups of flour
1. In a standing mixer, cream the margarine and the sugar with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in until the mixture is smooth. If it looks like it is curdling, add a few tablespoons of flour to bind it together.
3. Add the orange juice and the vanilla and mix well.
4. Add the baking powder and salt and mix well.
5. Add half of the flour and mix in, and then mix in the rest a half cup at a time until the dough holds together well but is still somewhat soft. Depending upon the humidity (which should be low this time of year) you will need to adjust the amount of flour. I think I added about 4 ½ cups.
6. Take the dough out of the bowl and put on a lightly floured board. Bring the mass together into a large ball and flatten slightly. Let the dough rest for at least 15 minutes. You could refrigerate the dough at this point and use within 6 hours or freeze it and use within a few weeks.
7. Separate the dough into quarters and roll out each quarter to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 3″ cookie cutter or similar sized glass cut out rounds. Stack the rounds on the side and take the remainder of the dough and add it to the next quarter and roll it out and cut the rounds. Keep repeating this until you run out of dough.
Rather than explain fillings and how to shape the Hamentashen, I recommend going to my friend’s website, The Shiksa in the Kitchen. She has a bunch of recipes for fillings and some great images showing a wonderful technique in shaping the Hamentashen. The only thing I will add to her info is that if you want to purchase fillings, the best you can get is Solo brand pie filling.