Hamantaschen with Poppy Seeds
Hamantaschen are triangular cookies filled with poppy seed, prune, or apricot. You first make the hamantaschen cookie dough, then you move on to the scrumptious filling. This recipe calls for fresh poppy seeds, which you can find in Jewish, Polish, Middle Eastern, or gourmet markets.
Leave the poppy seeds whole for a crunchy texture; or, if you prefer a smooth filling, grind the seeds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder.
Preparation time: 1 1/4 hours, plus 3 hours to chill
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: About 2 dozen cookies
Keeping kosher: Dairy
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cold butter
1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice (optional)
3/4 cup poppy seeds (1/4 pound)
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup raisins
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
Combine flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large food processor.
Process briefly to blend.
Separate one of the eggs.
Beat the remaining whole egg with the yolk in a small bowl.
Cut the butter into small bits.
Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture in the processor.
Mix using an on/off pulsing motion until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Pour the egg mixture evenly over the flour and butter mixture.
Process with an on/off motion, stopping to scrape the mixture down occasionally, until the dough just begins to come together in a ball.
If the crumbs are dry, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon orange juice and process briefly; repeat if the crumbs are still dry.
The top of the dough may seem a little dry, but the bottom will be moist and will moisten the rest when you knead it.
Transfer dough to a work surface.
Knead it lightly to blend the ingredients.
With a rubber spatula, transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap.
Wrap it and push it together, shaping it into a flat disk.
Refrigerate the dough for 3 hours.
Grind the poppy seeds in a spice grinder if you prefer a fine texture.
In small saucepan, combine poppy seeds, milk, honey, and sugar.
Bring to a simmer.
Cook over low heat, stirring often, about 15 to 20 minutes or until it’s thick.
Add the raisins and butter.
Stir the filling over low heat until the butter melts.
Remove from heat.
Zest the orange.
Stir in the pecans and 1 teaspoon orange zest.
Refrigerate in a covered container for at least 2 hours.
Grease two baking sheets.
Divide the dough into quarters.
Roll one of the sections out on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 1/8 inch thick.
Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut the dough in rounds.
Brush their edges lightly with water.
Put 1 teaspoon filling in the center of each one.
Pull up the edges of each round in three arcs that meet above the filling, covering it.
Pinch the dough above the filling to close the cookies firmly.
Pinch the edges to seal them.
Put the cookies on a greased baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered while shaping the remaining cookies.
You can save the dough scraps in the fridge for making flat cookies.
Follow Steps 28 through 35 with the remaining dough.
Refrigerate the cookies at least 30 minutes before baking to firm the dough.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the hamantaschen for 14 minutes, or until they’re light golden at the edges.
Cool the cookies on a rack.