Oma's Hamantaschen

The Jewish holiday of Purim is coming up on March 23rd. It's a fun celebration that usually entails kids getting dressed up as characters from the story of Haman. He's the bad guy in the story and whenever you hear his name during a reading of the story, you're supposed to use a noisemaker. It's lots of fun for kids! My favorite part of the holiday is making and eating Hamantaschen. They are triangular cookies that are made to look like Haman's 3-pointed hat.

 

If you've ever had a Hamantaschen at a bakery, it was likely dry and pretty bland. My mother ("Oma") was an excellent baker and she always used a little bit of orange juice in her dough to give it some flavor. I've given it my own spin by adding orange zest to the dough and lemon zest to the filling. And don't be deterred if you're not usually a fan of prunes--by the time they've cooked down with the honey--they are incredibly velvety and delicious. Make a batch and let me know what you think!

 

 

Oma's Prune Hamantaschen
Makes about 15 cookies

 

¾ cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons orange zest

 

For the filling:
1 pound prunes, pitted and chopped
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup honey
2 teaspoons lemon zest
¼ cup sliced almonds

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. With a pastry blender or clean hands, work the butter into the dry mix. Add the egg, orange juice and zest and mix until the dough comes together. (You can also do this step in a food processor.) Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill overnight, if possible, or for at least two hours.

3. Make the filling. Coming the prunes and water in a medium saucepan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice and honey and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes more, stirring frequently. Stir in the lemon zest and nuts; remove from heat.

4. Preheat oven to 350°. Roll the dough out about 1/8-inch thick on a lightly floured board. Use a round, 3-inch cookie cutter or jar lid to make circles of dough. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of prune filling in the center of each circle of dough. Pinch the edges of the dough together, leaving the prune filling exposed.

5. Bake hamantaschen for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven, cool and enjoy. Store any leftover cookies in an airtight container for 3 days.



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