A hamantash (or hamentasch), is a filled-pocket cookie or pastry in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine recognisable for its three-cornered shape. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the centre. It is traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim. Hamantashen are made with many different fillings, including poppy seed (the oldest and most traditional variety), prunes, nut, date, apricot, apple, fruit preserves, cherry, chocolate, dulce de leche, halva, or even caramel or cheese. Their formation varies from hard pastry to soft doughy casings.
- 2 cups plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons packed finely grated fresh orange zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice
- ⅔ cup filling such as date orange filling or poppy-seed filling, or apricot or cherry jam
- Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl with an electric mixer beat shortening, sugar, and egg at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add zest and juice and beat until incorporated. Add flour mixture, stirring, until a smooth dough is formed. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.
- Preheat oven to 190°C.
- Halve dough. On a lightly floured surface roll out half of dough (keeping other half wrapped and chilled) ½ cm thick. With a 8 cm cutter cut out as many rounds as possible. Transfer rounds with a metal spatula to a large baking sheet, arranging about 1¼ cm apart. Reroll scraps and cut out more rounds. Put 1 teaspoon filling in centre of each round and fold up edges to form triangular cookies resembling a tri-cornered hat, pinching corners together and leaving filling exposed. (Pinch dough tightly enough so seams are no longer visible and sides are taut enough to prevent cookies from leaking filling as they bake.)
- Bake hamantaschen in middle of oven 20 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool hamantaschen on baking sheet 5 minutes and transfer to racks to cool completely. Make more hamantaschen with remaining dough and filling in same manner. Hamantaschen keep in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days.