Tag: pastry

Hamantashen with Lemon-Parsley Ricotta

Hamantashen are little pastry pockets, not more than a small bite, usually sweet and filled with poppy seeds, jam, or dried fruit. I turned them into a savory treat with a very lemony ricotta filling refined with lots of chopped parsley. It’s a traditional Ashkenazi pastry, baked and shared during the Jewish holiday of Purim, starting this year on the evening of March 16th and ending 24 hours later. So why am I baking them? And why now?

My friend, the Berlin-based American baker Laurel Kratochvila of Fine Bagels spontaneously started Hamantashen for Ukraine, a show of worldwide bakery solidarity for the people of Ukraine. Profits of the sales are being donated to the Polish Humanitarian Action to help and support Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border. Laurel and her bakery friends will bake and sell hamantashen between now and March 17th, the 14th day of the Hebrew month of Adar. To find out where you can buy the charity pastries click here for the ever expanding list of participating bakeries all over the world.

Purim is celebrated to remember the saving of the Jewish people – thanks to queen Esther – from Haman, a vizier of the First Persian Empire who wanted to kill all Jews in the empire. Traditionally, food, drinks, and gifts are shared on this holiday, hamantashen are enjoyed together in the community, donations are given to the poor, and children and adults alike dress up in costumes. Maybe most importantly, these days there’s often a reflection on modern day Hamans in the world. That’s where this fundraiser comes in.

Laurel shared her recipe for sweet hamantashen with poppy seeds with me and I’ll share my first attempt to bake hamantashen with you. Not sweet but packed with lemon-parsley ricotta.

Thank you, Laurel!

Hamantashen with Lemon-Parsley Ricotta

Makes 22 hamantashen

For the pastry

  • 285g / 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 120g / 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, cold 
  • 1 large egg 

For the filling

  • 125g / 4.5 ounces fresh ricotta, drained
  • 1 large egg
  • 30g / 1 ounce Parmesan, finely grated
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
  • 1 scant tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Coarsely ground pepper

For the pastry, combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and use a knife to cut it into the flour until there are just small pieces left. Quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until combined. Add the egg and briefly mix with the paddle until crumbly. Form the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F (preferably convection setting). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

For the filling, whisk together the ricotta, egg, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a generous amount of pepper in a medium bowl. Season to taste with additional salt.

On a work surface, place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll out until it’s about 3mm / 1/8 inch thick. Using a 7cm / 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles, re-rolling any pastry scraps. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each circle. To shape, fold 3 sides inward to make a triangle, either overlapping or pinching where the edges meet. Transfer to a large platter and chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Transfer the hamantashen to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 18 minutes or until the pastry is golden and just baked through. Let them cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

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Hamantashen with Poppy Seeds

by Laurel Kratochvila / Fine Bagels

Makes 40 hamantashen

For the pastry

  • 440g / 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 240g / 1 cup plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
  • 130g / 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon finely ground almonds
  • 120g / 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt 
  • 2 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 150g / 1 1/2 cups ground poppy seeds
  • 75g / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 210ml / 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only
  • 2 tablespoons honey

For the pastry, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour and butter on low speed until sandy in texture, no bits of butter remaining. Add the ground almonds and confectioners sugar and mix until well combined. Add the salt, eggs, and vanilla and mix on low until the dough has just come together and no dry bits remain. Press the dough into a thick disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or up to 48 hours.

For the filling, in a heavy, medium saucepan, bring the poppy seeds, sugar, milk, butter, and lemon juice to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in the honey, and let cool completely before using. Covered airtight, you can refrigerate it for up to 1 week.

Preheat the oven to 170°C / 340°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To use the chilled pastry, you must break it: Fold it in half and roll it out once. It will crack. Fold the dough back up and roll out a second time. Now it’s ready.

On a work surface, place the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll out until it’s about 3mm / 1/8 inch thick. Using a 7cm / 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles, re-rolling any pastry scraps. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each circle. To shape, fold 3 sides inward to make a triangle, either overlapping or pinching where the edges meet. Transfer to a large platter and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Transfer the hamantashen to the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden and just baked through. Let them cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

Chocolate Cinnamon Rugelach, Happy Hanukkah!

Rugelach

We are invited to celebrate Hanukkah together with our friends and godchild and I will contribute rugelach which is a wonderful flaky, croissant like pastry. They are made traditionally for the important Jewish feast Hanukkah, the “Feast of Light and Dedication”.

When I tried them the first time I fell in love with their flakiness, they are buttery but still light. They taste divine, absolutely addictive, and due to their tiny size you end up eating lots of them. I enhanced the chocolate filling with cinnamon (which I love all year round), so it fits perfectly to the season. The pastry is a bit like short crust with added cream cheese which makes them so fluffy but still buttery. Look at the photo and you will want to try one!

Rugelach

Rugelach with Chocolate and Cinnamon

For 24 of these bite-sized sweets you will need

plain flour 150g / 5 ounces
icing sugar, 2 heaped tablespoons
butter, cold, 125g / 4.5 ounces
cream cheese, at room temperature, 120g / 4.5 ounces
a pinch of salt

bittersweet chocolate 80g / 3 ounces
sugar 40g / 1.5 ounces
cinnamon 1 heaping teaspoon

You will need a baking tray with baking parchment. Keep in mind that the dough has to sit in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for at least 1 1/2 hours.

Mix the dry ingredients (flour, icing sugar, salt). Cut the butter with a knife into the flour mixture until there are just little pieces of butter left. Mix with the dough hooks for a few seconds. Add the cream cheese and work it into the mixture with a fork or the mixer to get a crumbly texture.

Form 2 discs and put them in the freezer for 30 minutes. The dough should be very cold but not too hard, still rollable.

Preheat the oven to 185°C / 365°F. Put baking parchment on your baking sheet. Chop the chocolate finely and mix with cinnamon and sugar.

Roll out one disc. I do this between floured cling film as it become too sticky otherwise. When the diameter is roughly 30cm / 12″ you should have reached the right thickness of a couple millimeters. Cut the disc like a cake into 12 triangles. Take one slice after the other in your hand (the dough might still stick a bit to the foil but don’t worry, it is elastic) and sprinkle with your chocolate mixture. Don’t forget to set aside half the chocolate mixture for the second pastry disc. Now roll the little rugelach in the palm of your hand tightly into a croissant shape and put them on your baking sheet. Follow with the second disc or leave it in the freezer if you want to stop after the first batch of 12. I recommend doing them all at once as you will regret it if you don’t. When you have rolled up all 24 (they should all fit on one tray) bake them in the oven for 13 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. It’s best to check them after 10 minutes to be sure that they don’t get too dark.

Let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes and enjoy with your tea or coffee. They are also great for a late breakfast or brunch or even for a party as they are perfect fingerfood.

Rugelach

 

Rugelach