Apple & Cream Cheese Hamantaschen

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Each year Purim is observed by the Jewish faith. Purim falls on the Hebrew calder date of Adar 14, and so varies each year, but is usually some time in March. It is the commemoration of a story from the Book of Esther in which the Jewish people are delivered from tyranny and oppression. Whilst it sounds like it might be quite a sombre occasion it is a much more joyous one.

Whilst I’m not Jewish, part of my fascination with food are the edible items that are enjoyed by various cultures for specific events. I think the significance and meaning behind these foods gives you a greater appreciation of these culture.

Hamantaschen are very much associated with Purim. These triangular shaped biscuits are named for the villainous Haman who planned to destroy the Jewish people. The biscuit itself is highly symbolic with various meanings attributed to it from it being the ship of the hat worm by Haman to each corner representing Abraham, Issac and Jacob, the three ‘father’s of Judaism.

Traditionally hamantaschen were filled with a sweet poppy seed mix but now there seems to be no limit to the fillings including savoury ones.

I’ve filled these with cream cheese and apple, so that they are almost like a Danish. They are light and flavoursome and you really shouldn’t restrict yourself to only eating them during Purim. They are good any time of the year.

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Apple & Cream Cheese Hamantaschen

For the Dough

340g plain flour

130g caster sugar

zest of 1 lemon

170g butter (I generally use salted butter but if you use unsalted add ½ teaspoon of salt)

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 egg

1 egg extra, lightly beaten for sealing and glazing

For the Filling

250g cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon icing sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ lemon

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and coarsely grated

To make the dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix again. Add the egg and mix to combine. Gradually add the flour and continue to mix until the dough comes together. Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a flat disc. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the dough is in the fridge make the filling. Using the electric mixer beat the cream cheese, lemon zest and juice and icing sugar until the mixture is smooth. Then fold the grated apple though the cream cheese mixture.

Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper, until the dough is about 3mm thick. Using an 8.5 am round cutter cut the dough into rounds. Place a heaped teaspoon fo the filling in the middle of each round. Brush the outside of each round with a little egg and then fold the dough in from three sides to encase the filling. Pinch the corners to seal. Brush the sides with a little of the beaten egg. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Put the uncooked hamantaschen in the fridge for about an hour. Chilling them will help to make sure they don’t ooze open while they are baking.

Whilst the biscuits are chilling preheat the oven to 180℃. After an hour, take the hamantaschen from the fridge, and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown. Cool on the tray.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

BiscuitsJulia Matusik