It’s almost Purim time! That means lots of hamantaschen- like these Israel inspired Halva Hamantaschen!
Shalom, friends! Good news. I’m writing a new column for The Jewish Week where we are tweaking the anachronisms of the Jewish culinary canon (shav, we’re looking at you). With a little bit of love, we’re convinced we can reclaim the dishes that seem the strangest to the modern palate. (Sweet and sour tongue, anyone?)
First up, because it’s that time of year: Hamantaschen. They’re cookies, so what could be bad, right? But many find them bland with too sweet fillings. Sigh. With all the Purim drinking you’re going to do, you want a worthy cookie!
Halva, the sweet Middle Eastern sesame paste, is a great addition to this version of hamentaschen, which is neither dry nor bland thanks to a drizzle of orange juice in the dough. Sesame and orange bring a welcome Sephardi spin to a traditional Ashkenazi food, making these cookies the perfect treat for any Purim table.
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup aka 4 oz), room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg plus 1 for egg wash
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
- ½ teaspoon baking powder (use 1 tsp if you want a pouffier/softer cookie)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup tahini paste
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Water as needed
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds for garnish
- In a large bowl with a stand or hand mixer, blend sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Then add vanilla, 1 egg and orange juice and combine. Then add flour, baking powder and salt and mix with fingers or spoon until just combined. Dough should be slightly sticky. Form dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
- Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix together tahini paste and powdered sugar to desired level of sweetness. If tahini is a little dry, add water until the mixture is easy to combine and is about the consistency of peanut butter.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to about 1/4 - 1/8” thickness, then cut into circles with a 3 or 3 1/2-inch round cookie cutter or a wine glass. Place 1 teaspoon filling at center of dough circle and fold over the three corners to form a triangle.
- Place hamantaschen on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes to prevent spreading. Using a pastry brush, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 12-15 minutes until browned on the bottom. Cool completely on a rack before serving.
This recipe originally appeared on The Jewish Week!