Welcome to week 13 of the Alpha Bakers bake-a-long, an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared, but I will post my commentary followed by a full photo tutorial.
This week's selection - Hamantaschen - a triangular, filled pastry which is traditionally served on the Jewish festival of Purim. Rose's recipe calls for a poppy seed filling, but I made the prune lekvar and apricot lekvar variations listed in the book.
How do they taste - They're okay. We liked the soft vanilla pastry, but we weren't overly crazy for either of the fillings. I think 2 teaspoons of jam-like filling per cookie is a bit much for our taste.
How do they look - They look just like little hats.
Level of difficulty - Intermediate.
Were the directions clear - Yes, although my yield was 18 cookies rather than 24 as the recipe stated. Also, be cautious if you choose to make the prune lekvar variation. The lekvar recipe (pg 107) makes 1/2 cup which is only enough to fill half of the cookies. Thankfully I had leftover apricot lekvar in the fridge to make up the difference.
What would I do differently next time - Try different fillings like fig or Nutella. I might also make them a little smaller.
Next up - Caramel Buns, March 9, 2015.
Okay, here's my photo tutorial.
Let's start today's recipe by making the cookie dough. Cube some butter and pop it in the fridge to keep it chilled until we need it.
Grab some Turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw).
Process the sugar in a food processor, spice grinder, or blender.
Add flour, salt, and butter.
Mix them up until they look like this.
Next we'll need to add an egg yolk and pure vanilla extract.
And a little heavy cream - mmmm.
Pulse a few times until the mixture looks crumbly, but evenly mixed - like this.
Dump the mixture into a zipper bag.
Press the mixture from the outside of the bag to form a flat disk. Zip the bag closed and pop it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (or up to 3 days). Dough can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
I like to roll my dough under a sheet of wax paper so I don't have to add any extra flour.
Cut out the rounds. If your dough has softened to the point that it will distort out of shape when transferring to a sheet pan, pop it in the fridge for a couple minutes.
We need to add 2 teaspoons of filling to each cookie. This #60 scoop is just the right size, and it keeps everything nice a neat.
See, no mess. I'm filling these with prune lekvar.
And these have apricot lekvar that was leftover from The Ischler cookies we made a while back.
Use a small pastry brush to moisten the edges of the cookie dough with water.
Now it's time to fold up the sides of the cookies. I found it helpful to use something with a flat edge to do this, like this small offset spatula. It worked really well and was easy to navigate around the other cookies.
Continue until all 3 sides are folded.
Gently pinch the corners together. Note: they won't stick together if the pastry wasn't brushed with water or if the water dried before you've had a chance to fold the pastry. Check to make sure the folds stick together.
Before you bake the hamantaschen, cover them with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or overnight). This will help ensure they keep their shape while they bake.
To bake the hamantaschen, preheat oven for 30 minutes. Just before baking, brush the with a glaze made of egg yolk and a touch of heavy cream.
Note: try to brush all the visible pastry surfaces with egg glaze - areas missed will be apparent after baking. At the same time, try to avoid getting the egg glaze on the fruit filling - doing so will make the filling look cloudy. This small pastry brush worked perfectly.
They look so good, don't they?
Which one would you like to try first, prune or apricot? I'll take a prune - mmmmmm!
links to more alpha baker photo tutorials
- Nov 19, 2015 The Hazelnut Praline Cookies that Never Were
- Sep 1, 2015 TBB - Flaky Cream Cheese Scones
- Aug 23, 2015 TBB - Woody's Black and White Brownies
- Jul 1, 2015 TBB - Praline Meringue Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Jun 23, 2015 Ricotta Loaf - The Bread Bible
- Jun 4, 2015 TBB - French Orange Cream Tart
- May 19, 2015 TBB - Double Chocolate Oriolos
- May 15, 2015 Touch of Grace Biscuits - The Bread Bible
- May 7, 2015 TBB - Blu-Rhu Mini Pies
- Apr 27, 2015 TBB - Lemon Jammies
- Apr 2, 2015 Pita Pizzas - The Bread Bible
- Mar 22, 2015 TBB - Luxury Oatmeal Cookies
- Mar 15, 2015 TBB - Sour Cherry Pie (Pi Day)
- Mar 9, 2015 TBB - Caramel Buns
- Mar 4, 2015 TBB - Hamantaschen (Purim)
- Feb 23, 2015 TBB - Lemon Posset Alma
- Feb 15, 2015 TBB - Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache
- Feb 11, 2015 TBB - Golden Orange Panettone with Chocolate Sauce
- Feb 9, 2015 Panettone Delay
- Feb 2, 2015 TBB - Swedish Apricot Walnut Bread
- Jan 26, 2015 TBB - Gingersnaps
- Jan 19, 2015 Biga Fail
- Jan 12, 2015 TBB - Black and Blueberry Pie
- Jan 5, 2015 TBB - Chocolate Cuddle Cake