Sunday, March 1, 2015


March 1, 2015

My friend Karen and I have made hamantaschen together on several occasions.  She has memories of how her mother used to make them.  I don't, but I still have an idea about how they should taste.  We tried various recipes, but none of them was right.  Then I got Rose's recipe, which uses pate sucree as the cookie base, and suddenly the hamantaschen tasted good.  We still had some problems with shaping the cookies, but we're gradually getting better.

First, the poppyseed filling.  I added the rind of my last, lone Meyer lemon, and my apricot preserves turned out actually to be orange marmalade, so there were plenty of citrusy notes in the filling.  That's not a bad thing.

Butter is good.  Even when it's not beurre noisette.

I did have Turbinado sugar in my box of sugars, but it was so hard I couldn't get any out.  How do other people store sugars they don't use often but want to keep on hand?  I have a hard lump of dark Muscovado, a hard lump of light Muscovado, and formerly had a piece of granite that claimed to be turbinado sugar.  So I used regular sugar and processed it, as instructed.  I could have used Baker's Sugar, but that wasn't in the instructions, so I didn't.

"The dough will be in crumbly pieces."  Yes, it will.  Here it takes an act of faith to pour the crumbs into a plastic bag and believe that the crumbs will magically turn into smooth cookie dough.

And yet it does.  "With no visible pieces of butter."  As I scanned the dough for any butter spots, and prepared to put the dough in the refrigerator, Karen said, "Rose would just platz if she saw how  my mother and I used to make hamantaschen."  Apparently they didn't examine the dough for microscopic pieces of butter.  Or refrigerate the dough before rolling it out.  Or measure the dough to make sure it's 1/8 inch thick.

I know for sure that they didn't strain the eggs for the egg wash.  I'm pretty sure they didn't use an egg wash.  I'm including this picture to prove that I didn't skip the straining step, which I sometimes do.

The main problem we've had before in our hamantaschen escapades is the floppy-sided cookie, which becomes not folded and not filled, instead of a proper three-sided Haman's hat.  Mine were especially bad.  So this year we (mostly Karen) sealed the dough tightly so there was barely any filling visible at the time the cookies went into the oven.

We ended up making, in addition to the poppyseed cookies, some that were filled with ersatz apricot preserves (that is to say, orange marmalade) and some with blackberry preserves.  Karen said they used to make theirs with strawberry jam and thickened the jam with crushed-up cornflakes if it was too runny.  I said, "No hamantaschen will be filled with cornflakes in my kitchen."  That was a rule I didn't even know I had before yesterday.

As it turned out, the fillings did not need to be thickened with cornflakes or anything else, and none of the cookies collapsed and spurted out filling.  And they tasted very, very good.  Jim couldn't decide which filling he liked better, and kept saying he'd better have another to compare.  He never did decide and now most of the cookies are gone.

The one thing I will do differently next time is not slop on the egg wash.  I didn't realize that the line of demarcation would be so clear.  I suppose it's a good idea not to be sloppy in general, but I'm not yet ready to make a resolution that covers my entire life.


  1. Marie, reading your post, I realized I forgot to strain the egg wash. Actually, I've never strained egg wash before. I'll try to remember to do it next time. Your hamantaschen looks great, despite the sloppy egg wash - I'd defend them to say they are not sloppy, they are creative-looking :).

  2. wait.. we were suppose to strain the egg wash?

  3. "just platz" ! That's priceless! What a fun friend you have. Platz or not, they turned out perfectly.

  4. they look so good! to answer your question, I keep all my sugars in airtight containers, for months or years, and they stay nice and soft/granular.

  5. Your hamataschen looks perfect to me. I think egg wash are meant to be sloppy. I don't know how anyone can egg wash perfectly?

  6. Everytime I egg wash on any cookies or bread, I find I have this problem too.. always dripping sides..

  7. Your pastry looks so flaky! For my sugar (the brown sugars to be more specific) I soak a clay puck in water and insert it into the sugar and this keeps the sugar moist. You should be able to buy them at the grocery store. BTW, the pictures are great!

  8. I only used the egg glaze for sealing the edges. Guess I missed that part about brushing it on the cookies before baking. Your cookies look really good! Must be nice to have a helper in the kitchen too.

  9. ב''ה

    Your hamentash look gevaldik!

    We store brown sugar in the freezer and take it out 1/2 before we want to use it.

  10. I also, store all my baking supply in the freezer, and like Mendy i take it out 1/2 an hour before use.

    Happy holiday!!

  11. I keep my brown sugar(s) in a double zip lock bag. Your cookies turned out great! Strawberry jam sounds wonderful. Will have to try that sometime.

  12. They look fantastic.
    Re the hard sugars: Rose suggests taking a small piece of aluminum foil, making it into a small receptacle, moistening half a paper towel, squeeze out,l and placing it in the foil, not touching the sugar. Put lid on and come back later. I come back next day. It works. I have done it several times and did it for the turbinado yesterday. I keep my sugar in a plastic rectangular box and the little trough fits in it just fine.
    It could be done in a jar or any place.