Hamantaschen are cute little triangular cookies filled with jam, prunes, apricots, poppyseeds, or in this case figs cooked up in a little anise liqueur and diluted with a couple of spoonfuls of fig jam. Savory Hamantaschen are becoming more popular, too. We eat them to celebrate Purim — that’s the story of Esther, and how (as queen) she saves her people from the wicked Haman. We don’t really know why these are called ‘Haman’s pockets’, but they showed up in eastern Europe about 400 years ago, so…
Anyway. Hamantaschen can be made of any kind of pastry, but I like yeasted breads, so here is a recipe for Fig Hamantaschen, just because. I started with this recipe: https://jamiegeller.com/recipes/yeast-dough-hamantaschen/. Second time around, I made a lot of adaptations because the original was much too dry and made too many cookies for my single-person household. I used a straight-sided whiskey glass to cut out the circles; these go on a baking tray lined with parchment. Put a spoonful of filling in the middle of each, then pull up the sides and pinch them together into a tricorn hat shape. You can use an egg-wash or not, just as you choose.
This recipe takes 20 minutes prep time, one hour rising time, 30 minutes rise after shaping, and 20 minutes in the oven, so 2¼ hours minutes start to finish. This quantity makes about 30.
8g (2 tsp) dried yeast
350g (1½ cups) lukewarm water
150g (¾ cup) sugar
250g (two cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
250g (two cups) bread flour
3-4g (½ tsp) kosher salt
Zest of one lemon (or a teaspoon of lemon flavoring)
85g melted coconut oil
Filling: assorted jams or fruit butters, or quick homemade filling (see note)
1 beaten egg for the egg wash, if desired
To prepare the dough:
In a mixing bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the lukewarm water. Let stand in a warm place for about 10 minutes until it is thickened and bubbly. Beat in the egg.
Sift the flours into a large bowl and add the salt, lemon zest, and coconut oil. Pour the flour into the yeast+egg mixture and beat well until
all the flour is incorporated. I use an electric hand mixer for about two minutes.
Turn out onto a well-floured surface, and knead all the ingredients together until a soft dough forms that no longer picks up flour but is still slightly sticky.
Spray a mixing bowl with Pam or oil. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, covering with plastic wrap also sprayed with Pam. Let it rise for an hour in a warm place, such as an oven set on low and then turned off.
Filling and baking:
Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.
Flour a clean work surface. Roll the dough to about ¼-inch thick – no thinner. Cut rounds of dough with the edge of a drinking glass or circular cookie cutter, dipped in flour.
Place a dollop of jam or filling on each round. Pick up the sides and pinch them together to form a triangle, allowing the filled centers to remain exposed.
Place the hamantaschen about 1-inch apart on the trays and brush the tops with a beaten egg. Set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
Bake for about 20 minutes until gently browned. Serve with sprinkled powdered sugar.
Take a dozen figs and chop fairly fine.
Place in a small saucepan over low heat, with a dollop of water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until figs are soft. You may need to add a little more water to prevent scorching.
When figs are soft and squishy, add 1 fl oz anise liqueur and two heaping tablespoons of fig jam. Stir vigorously, mashing the figs against the said of the pan.
Use a teaspoon to drop the filling into the middle of each pastry round. You should have just enough for 30 Hamanstaschen.