Leah Koenig’s Sweet and Savory Hammentashen:
“Nothing brings out the baking spirit in me like Purim. Several weeks before the holiday, I start dreaming up new exciting fillings to spoon onto my cookies before pinching them into the familiar tri-cornered shape recalling Haman’s hat. Never a fan of mohn (poppy seeds) or artificial cherry pie filling, my hamentashen fillings tend to skew either towards the sweet-tart – things like lemon curd, apricot marmalade or homemade pear and ginger compote (see below for a kosher recipe) – or the all out, hands-down decadent – think spoonfuls of Nutella, or white chocolate chips swirled with raspberry jam.
But a few years ago, while in the midst of one of my pre- Purim daydream sessions, my thoughts drifted from sweet to savory. What would it taste like, I wondered, if I cut back on sugar in the dough and replaced it with dried herbs? And what sort of filling combinations might compliment this savory foundation? After a few excited rounds of testing, tweaking and tasting, I hit the Purim jackpot: a rich, herb-flecked “cookie” encasing a medley of lightly caramelized mushrooms and onion, browned in the oven until golden and unbelievably fragrant (see below for a kosher recipe)
One bite was all it took to know that I’d stumbled on a new annual tradition – for me anyways! Lest one think that savory hamentashen sounds too unconventional to try, consider the spinach knish, the Middle Eastern bureka or the Italian calzone. All of these delicious pastries combine dough with meat, vegetables and any number of tasty fillings – so why should the hamentashen be left out of the fun?”
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme, basil, oregano, or rosemary
- 2 tbsp milk
Cream butter, egg and sugar. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and herbs together and set aside. Add 1/2 of dry mixture into wet ingredients and combine until smooth. Add milk, then remaining flour mixture, stirring until incorporated. If dough is too sticky at this point, continue adding flour until it is firm enough to withstand being rolled out.
Gently roll out dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a circular cookie cutter or the rim of a wide-mouthed glass and transfer to a baking sheet. Dot each circle with filling (see below). Pinch corners into triangles. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until delicately browned.
Variation 1: This dough can be used for sweet hamentashen too. Increase the sugar to 3 Tbs and omit the dried herbs.
Variation 2: If you would like to eat these hamentashen after a meat meal, replace the butter with non-hydrogenated margarine (e.g. Smart Balance) and the milk with soy or almond milk.
Savory Onion and Mushroom Filling
- 3/4 pound mushrooms (white cap or cremini)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- pinch salt
- 1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)
Chop mushrooms and onion into small dice. Heat oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat and brown onions. Add mushrooms and salt and let cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and about halved in size. Add red wine (if desired) and salt and cook 2-3 minutes, until liquid is dissolved. Let cool before stuffing into hamentashen.
Sweet Pear and Ginger Compote
- 2 bosc pears, chopped
- 1 Tbs honey
- 1/2 tsp ginger powder
- 1 Tbs water
- 1 1/2 tsp crystallized ginger, chopped
Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring regularly until the pears soften and soak up the fragrant liquid, about 8 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before using as hamentashen filling.
- Hammentashen Challah for Your Purim Seuda by Sara Katsen (thejewishhostess.com)
- Queen Esther Reigns and Entertains With Regal Purim Decor! (thejewishhostess.com)
- Egg, Nut, and Dairy Free (Vegan) Hammentashen for Purim (thejewishhostess.com)
- The Jewish Hostess Post Purim 2011 Party ReCap (thejewishhostess.com)
- Allegra’s Perfect Hanuka Sugar Cookie Dough Recipe (thejewishhostess.com)