Monday, March 21, 2011

Apricot and Blackberry-Marzipan Hamantaschen



Hamantaschen!  Oh man, it seriously took me a week to learn how to say and spell the name of these cookies correctly.  The first time I told my roommate I was going to make hamantaschen, it came out something like "hama-stor-stat-tatch-tashen."  To which her bewildered response was a..."wha?  Are you trying to speak German?!"

Anyways, regardless of difficulty for me to wrap my apparently failing linguistic skills around, these cookies are delicious nonetheless.  And they are related in part to a German word, so I wasn't so far off, right?  Right?


The first I'd ever heard of these little triangular cookies was from my friend Starr, who started telling me about them at the beginning of last week.  Then, once I knew about them, I couldn't stop seeing them everywhere--they were in the coffee shop I went to to do work, they were in the supermarkets, they were all over the internets--even though I had never noticed them before.  Does anyone else ever do that, like notice how many other people seem to have your car?  So when Starr mentioned that she wanted to try her hand at making hamantaschen, I jumped at the chance to try them out.


It turns out that the cookies are pretty awesome and simple, a shortcrust pastry-like cookie on the outside with different sorts of jam or paste fillings inside.  Poppyseed and prune are two traditional flavors, I think, as is apricot, but, like any sort of filling-cookie combo, I couldn't help but get really excited to see what else I could stuff inside the cookies instead.  Starr and I ended up making four different flavors of hamantaschen, but these were the two that we liked the best: a more traditional dried apricot quick jam filling and a more non-traditional blackberry preserve and marzipan filling.  The apricot jam was deliciously tart, made from dried California apricots that are supposedly tart-er than their Turkish counterparts, and packed with juicy, fruity flavor, and the tartness was the perfect accent against the sweet crust of the cookies.  In the blackberry-marzipan hamantaschen, the almond paste melded beautifully with the pastry outsides for a rich, nutty center top with seedy berry preserves.  Starr mentioned that these looked reminiscent of the prune-flavored hamantaschen, but in my opinion, I'll take marzipan and blackberry over prune any day.  :-)


On that note, Happy belated Purim to everyone!  Make sure to grab a hamantaschen on your way to the recipe....

(and yes, I'm still working on pronouncing "Purim" correctly, too.)


(P.S.  In case you were wondering, the other two flavors we tried were poppyseed and mascarpone-fig.)

[Edit:  Upon eating these, Starr's husband, Alan, broke out into spontaneous song.  To the tune of Frere Jacques:
Hamantaschen, hamantaschen
I eat you, I eat you
You are very tasty, you are very tasty
nom nom nom, nom nom nom
Thanks, Alan!  :-)]


Read on for recipe...


(P.P.S.  for some reason, I kept shaping my hamantaschen into pinched triangles reminiscent of Star Trek insignia. Hm. well, I guess once a Trekker, always a Trekker....)


Apricot and Blackberry-Marzipan Hamantaschen
recipe for cookie dough adapted from the NYTimes
makes ~30 hamantaschen total (~15 of each flavor)

for cookie:
1 cup powdered sugar
385 gr (2 1/4 cups) AP flour
dash of salt
2 egg yolks
8 oz butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
zest of 1 lemon, freshly grated
1 large egg, beaten

1. Combine the powdered sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, butter, and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a dough begins to form.
2. Remove the dough from the food processor and wrap in parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
3. In the meantime, prepare the fillings--recipes included below.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cookie sheets lined with silpats or parchment paper.
5. Lightly sprinkle your workspace with powdered sugar or flour. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter (~2.5 - 3 inches in diameter), cut out rounds.
6. For apricot hamantaschen, spoon about a teaspoon of filling into the center of each cookie. For blackberry-marzipan hamantaschen, place about a teaspoon of almond paste in the center of each cookie round and top with a small amount of blackberry preserves.
7. Fold the edged of the cookie rounds up and pinch the corners together. Place the cookies on the prepared lined cookie sheets. Brush the outsides of the cookies with the beaten egg.
8. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly golden.
9. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Note: Despite tasting really good, this is perhaps one of the most temperamental doughs I've worked with. It likes to be rolled out cold (otherwise sticks to everything, even parchment paper) but folded into cookie form when it's a little closer to room temperature.
Note: Don't roll the dough out thinner than 1/4 of an inch, either, which will make it difficult to work with.

for dried apricot quick jam filling:
1/4 lbs dried (California) apricots (~7 gr)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
sprinkle of lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1. Combine the dried apricots, water, and sugar in a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid.
2. Over medium-low heat, cook covered for about 15 minutes.
3. Remove the lid and continue cooking for about 5-10 minutes more, until the liquid has reduced.
4. Pour the contents of the saucepan into a food processor. Add a small sprinkling of lemon juice. Pulse until the apricots are roughly chopped but do not process until smooth.
5. Let cool before filling cookies.

for blackberry-marzipan filling:
blackberry preserves
almond paste



Enjoy!

29 comments:

  1. I have always wanted to make these. Yours came out lovely!

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  2. oh yum! too pretty to eat, almost. i've never seen them before, but maybe like you, i'll suddenly start seeing them everywhere. :)

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  3. I thought I should echo the warning about rolling these out too thin -- if you are a person, like me, who is bad at rolling out pastry dough, these are a great cookie for you to try, because they stand up much better when the dough is rolled out thicker than you think it should be!

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  4. I read an article about these cookies in the NY Times last week and had to have one! I headed out to a Yiddish bakery in Paris and totally embarrassed myself trying to order because I couldn't even correctly pronounce the name of the treat. The embarrassment was worth it--the cookie was delish and I can't wait to try making them myself. Your flavors sound way more appealing than prune and regular ol' almond!

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  5. I saw these so many times in internet but I've never given them a try...Yours seems wonderful, I like the idea to use marzipan and blackberry preserves...It seems quite right for a cookie like this...

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  6. The hamantaschen (not only can I not pronounce it, I had to scroll up just to check the spelling!) look delicious, but what I'm really interested in is that dried apricot jam. It's just the most amazing colour and I can only imagine how great it must taste. I love the idea of using dried fruit in a jam.

    I'm hoping that I'll be like you, and after hearing about these suddenly they'll start to pop up everywhere because I'm desperate to try one. Maybe I'll just have to make some of my own!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Absolutely beautiful! I made my first Hamantaschen this weekend and fell in love with them. I had apricot filling and sour cherry cranberry ( http://kucharnia.blogspot.com/2011/03/hamantaschen.html )Next time, and there will be one very soon:), I'm definitely going to try the blueberry version!
    I love your blog!
    Greetings from Poland:)

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  8. I love them!! And I'm totally crazy about your blog ;))))

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  9. The name of your blog is just perfect; I'm ending my day with a berry frangipane tart I just made, and I'll no doubt tuck in at breakfast. Your photos are gorgeous - the lighting is just perfect.

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  10. I've seen these often recently and have wanted so badly to make them. They look delicious and this recipe is perfect!
    So pleased I found your blog!

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  11. I love your blog, I'm officially addicted! I was in the market for a new camera and was wondering what you use, do you mind sharing?

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  12. Thank you so much, everyone!

    @Jennifer: I use a Nikon D90.

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  13. these look song worthy! yum yummm.:)

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  14. I hope I start seeing these everywhere too...!

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  15. This is too adorable for words... and oh.. marzipan... dreamy.

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  16. i've been seeing them everywhere, too!! and i just learned about them a couple of weeks ago. it's crazy!
    your photography is beautiful.

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  17. We had a lovely taste of spring here in Manhattan today, which got me thinking about rhubarb season and your wonderful strawberry-rhubarb crumble recipe I made back in August, so naturally I had to pay a visit to the blog and see what other deliciousness you've been up to!

    My family makes hamantaschen for Purim every year (I have three younger siblings and it's a great baking project for kids-- although the five year old's hamantaschen usually turn out looking more like cookie-blinis with a dollop of filling on top) and I was put in charge this year while home on spring break a couple weeks ago.

    Next year I should branch out with my hamantaschen repetoire... typically being too lazy to make a separate filling I'll just toss in some Bonne Maman raspberry preserves and be done with it. One thing I did want to suggest though-- my family being the chocoholics we are, we always make most of our hamantaschen with chocolate. Just fill them with some Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips and there is nothing as wonderful as a fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate hamantaschen melting all over your fingers :)

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  18. just found your delicious blog .
    starting your day off with dessert is the best way to go .

    xoxo.
    http://alwaysamrsforeverakidd.blogspot.com

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  19. 260 gr (1 cup) powdered sugar
    How are you getting the 260 grams figure? It's more than double the weight of one cup of powdered sugar. Thanks!

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  20. @Anon: thank you so much for noticing this! I must have written something wrong down in my notes. The original recipe in the Times says "1 cup," so I'd go with that.

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  21. I found your website and blog a few days ago and have been reading avidly ever since but not cooking (though yearning for the time to do so now that it's summer and college isn't eating up my life). And so today, in the midst of intensive house-cleaning, I decided to try this recipe. Visually speaking, I sort of failed since I folded them into 4 and not 3 and my oven was set too high and they fell apart. But!!! They tasted delicious!!! Batch number 2 and 3 came out looking prettier and prettier. Thanks for the adventure, many more to come

    ReplyDelete
  22. I found your website and blog a few days ago and have been reading avidly ever since but not cooking (though yearning for the time to do so now that it's summer and college isn't eating up my life). And so today, in the midst of intensive house-cleaning, I decided to try this recipe. Visually speaking, I sort of failed since I folded them into 4 and not 3 and my oven was set too high and they fell apart. But!!! They tasted delicious!!! Batch number 2 and 3 came out looking prettier and prettier. Thanks for the adventure, many more to come

    ReplyDelete
  23. I've seen these often recently and have wanted so badly to make them. They look delicious and this recipe is perfect!
    So pleased I found your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  24. 260 gr (1 cup) powdered sugar
    How are you getting the 260 grams figure? It's more than double the weight of one cup of powdered sugar. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  25. The name of your blog is just perfect; I'm ending my day with a berry frangipane tart I just made, and I'll no doubt tuck in at breakfast. Your photos are gorgeous - the lighting is just perfect.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The hamantaschen (not only can I not pronounce it, I had to scroll up just to check the spelling!) look delicious, but what I'm really interested in is that dried apricot jam. It's just the most amazing colour and I can only imagine how great it must taste. I love the idea of using dried fruit in a jam.

    I'm hoping that I'll be like you, and after hearing about these suddenly they'll start to pop up everywhere because I'm desperate to try one. Maybe I'll just have to make some of my own!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I read an article about these cookies in the NY Times last week and had to have one! I headed out to a Yiddish bakery in Paris and totally embarrassed myself trying to order because I couldn't even correctly pronounce the name of the treat. The embarrassment was worth it--the cookie was delish and I can't wait to try making them myself. Your flavors sound way more appealing than prune and regular ol' almond!

    ReplyDelete
  28. oh yum! too pretty to eat, almost. i've never seen them before, but maybe like you, i'll suddenly start seeing them everywhere. :)

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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