One of my grandmothers called me the other day to ask me about preparing some hamantaschen in advance, and I realized that I haven’t written about these delightful cookies since 2013! (Fondly remembered as the days when literally everything for this blog was shot on a single, turquoise square.)
Since Purim‘s all about badass ladies (and oblivious husband-kings, cool uncles, and villains with pointy, triangular hats), I figured the best way to remedy the situation was to invite my friend Rachel over to assemble the cookies with me!
It was a bit of a struggle to decide what flavours we wanted. I vetoed Rachel’s suggestions of pizza-inspired hamantaschen (abominable as they are unto the Lord, myself, etc.), and she was disgusted by my idea to pair matcha and poppy seed.
The one thing we could agree upon was that traditional hamantaschen dough was truly lousy. It’s always weirdly cakey and dry, while simultaneously managing to be crumbly and flavourless. So we embarked upon a sacrilegious journey and used rugelach dough instead!
The resulting pastry much more closely resembled pie crust (which is to say: it was superior in every imaginable way). The dough is still a bit tricky to work with, and a few of the ‘taschen came apart from their triangles, but it was worth it for the much improved flavour and texture. They’re like teeny, tiny galettes now!
I wanted to try a rhubarb filling with a thyme crust, and Rachel went for a lemon curd filling with a lime crust. Halfway through assembly, though, we realized that each of the fillings would pair well with either of the doughs, so we swapped some out and also feasted upon rhubarb lime and lemon thyme hamantaschen.
Two flavourful twists on the traditional Purim hamantaschen. The recipe makes a lot, so feel free to halve it if you're serving fewer people!
For the dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
1 cup (225g) butter, cold, cubed
1 pkg (225g) cream cheese, cold, cubed
zest of 2 limes
1 heaped tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Later: 1 egg + 1 Tbs milk, whisked together for egg wash
For the rhubarb jam
1 1/2 cups (225g) chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
zest of half a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the lemon curd
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk
zest from 2 lemons
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 tablespoons of butter, softened
For the dough
In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add cream cheese, chopped into large chunks, and run machine until it’s fully dispersed into the flour. Add butter in large chunks and run machine until dough starts to clump.
Divide the dough evenly into two bowls. Add the lime zest to one bowl, and the thyme to the other, and incorporate them in with your hands. Form a flat disk with each dough, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until firm.
For the rhubarb jam:
Set all the ingredients in a medium pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, and cook until rhubarb has completely disintegrated, and the mixture is thick enough that when you run a spatula through it, it leaves a clear line instead of pouring back right away, 30-40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the lemon curd:
In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg, and egg yolk until combined. Whisk in the zest and lemon juice. Set a medium pot to boil with 1 inch of water in the bottom, and place the bowl with the curd on top of it. Heat, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes. Add the butter in small cubes, one by one, adding the next after the first has dissolved. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and can coat the back of a metal spoon without running. Remove from heat, and cool completely in the fridge, where it will continue to thicken.
On a clean, floured surface, roll out the thyme dough, adding more flour to the dough and rolling pin as necessary, until it's 1/4-1/8 inch thick. Cut dough into rounds with a 3-inch cookie cutter. Fill each round with a scant teaspoon of the rhubarb filling, and fold into triangles (for step-by-step photos, go here. Set the hamantaschen on parchment-lined baking sheets in the fridge to cool for 15 minutes before baking.
Repeat with the lime dough and lemon curd filling.
Heat the oven to 350F. Brush each of the hamantaschen with egg wash (only the dough; avoid the filling) and bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the top and bottom pans halfway through the baking time.
Hamantaschen are done when they're toasted and golden-brown. Best eaten the day they're made, but they'll keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Any leftover filling makes a great addition to yoghurt, ice cream, or pancakes!