Hamantaschen Cookies

These delectable little pastry “hats” are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim, but they are so good, they really should be eaten year round. Buttery pastry filled with a dried fruit and nut jam, they are a special treat. This slight twist on the traditional filling contains apricots, prunes and walnuts. Serve them warm or at room temperature.

From Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Cookies

Makes about 27

Pastry

2 cups sifted all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 stick unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 egg

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

1-1/2 Tablespoon orange juice

Sift together dry ingredients and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal. With a fork, lightly mix egg, orange juice and zest in a small bowl. Pour into food tube and pulse until dough begins to come together. Cover in plastic wrap, flatten dough slightly and refrigerate overnight.

Filling

12 oz. (2 cups) dried pitted prunes

6 oz. (1 cup) dried apricots

1 cup water

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup honey

3/4 cup walnuts , cut into medium size pieces

Cut the dried fruit into small pieces. The prunes can be cut in half but the apricots should be diced. Place in a small saucepan with the water and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook until fruit is very soft, 10-15 minutes. Check occasionally and add a little water as needed. Once fruit is soft, add lemon juice and honey. Cook, stirring constantly for about 5 more minutes. Allow to cool, then stir in the nuts. Set aside.

Shaping and Baking

Preheat oven to 400F

Line 2 cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper. Work with half the pastry at a time; refrigerate the other half. Flour your surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Work quickly or the dough will become sticky.

Turn it over to keep both sides floured. With a 3 inch cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, cut the dough into rounds. Do not make them smaller than 3 inches.

Holding one disc in your hand, place a rounded teaspoon of the filling onto the center.

Fold up 2 sides of the dough and pinch together at the top where they meet. Fold up the third side and pinch together to form a triangle.

Place cookies 1-1/2 to 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets and bake 12-15 minutes until lightly colored. Cool on a rack or serve them warm.

Leftover filling makes an excellent conserve for morning toast. It will keep refrigerated for at over 2 weeks.

 
 
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