Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Bless you!

Sounding a bit like a sneeze (in my mind), these Hamantaschen from The Baking Bible were the Alpha Bakers task for this week. They're biscuits traditionally made for the Jewish celebration of Purim. I found them easy to make (apart from some difficulties with shaping the dough) and very tasty. 

I'm tossing up just how much blame I can apportion to the climate (100%?) and how much I'll have to shoulder myself. My heart does sink slightly when approaching the baking of biscuits because of the problems I have dealing with the humidity and also with my tendency to roll the dough out too thinly.

Unfortunately they didn't turn out as prettily as I had hoped. In an effort to combat the humidity, I refrigerated the dough for longer than stated in the recipe and also in between cutting and filling the circles but still, when I came to shape them, the dough broke at the corners, so they look raggedy. I tend to blame the humidity but I can see Alpha Baker Faithy, who is baking in tropical Singapore, didn't have the same problem... 

If you were to rate pastry by its deliciousness when in dough form (and I've considered starting such a rating system) this pastry would be well towards the top of the scale. Right behind Rose's recipe for Rugelach, the dough of which tastes a lot like cheesecake to me because of the cream cheese.

It's pretty easy to put together. No ingredient photo today since I just grabbed the few things I needed out of the fridge. You blend the butter with sugar (it was meant to be turbinado but I'm still working my way through a large bag of raw caster sugar so I used that) then add the flour and salt, and pulse. Then you add some cream, eggs and vanilla and pulse again until you have pea sized lumps.

Peas at last!

Rose suggests her plastic bag method to bring the dough together but once again, too lazy to do this, I just squished the dough in a piece of gladwrap until it came together.

I made it into two flat disks and put it in the fridge to rest for an hour or so.

I like the neat circles photo below because it belies the mangled and patched heaps of dough that come next. Rose suggests rolling them out on a floured board but I chose to roll them out between gladwrap because that has been successful for me in combating sticky dough in the past.

I looked at the different possible fillings for these biscuits (and there's a lot of suggestions out there) but I really wanted to make something in keeping with the Baking Bible recipe so I chose the prune lekvar and also apricot jam. With the not so traditional addition of a few bits of dark chocolate.

These ugly ducklings looked marginally better when cooked.

But they didn't turn into beautiful swans. I got out a pretty blue plate to distract your eye. Isn't it nice? What a lovely shade of blue. And I think they don't look too bad...on the whole...the ones I selected for the photo...

Next week: mmmmm buns! And caramel buns at that. Definitely up there with chocolate + cake in the list of things that are good by definition.


  1. Yes, the shaped did break for me..and it melted very quickly esp. when I rolled to thinner the dough turns soft really fast...I was using the flower cutter and stopped half way cos the petals broke after the dough turned soft. And that small cutter took me forever...drove me crazy. LOL! So i changed to the plunger shaped..somehow that shaped worked very well because I think cos it doesn't need to be rolled out too thin?..and didn't melt as melt..and I didn't even need flour extra to keep from sticking.
    Nonetheless, if you hadn't say, I won't have known you had problems. Your hamataschen looked perfect to me! I too like Rose's ruglech dough recipe better.

  2. Aww thanks Faithy, that makes me feel a bit better. I find it a bit depressing when I can't make them look neat. They were nice to eat though and that helps with the depression!

  3. very creative how you fold them over.

  4. I can't imagine rolling this buttery dough in humidity. Do you use a marble board and rolling pin this time of year?I have my mother's very old antique glass rolling pin. it was filled with ice to help keep dough cool.
    Wonder if there's an updated version now? Regardless, your cookies look quite nice and neat to me. They were harder to fold than I thought they would be but were tasty none the less.

    1. Vicki, I think my grandmother had a plastic rolling pin you could fill with water/ice. I'm not sure what happened to it. I might invest in a marble rolling pin, but the rolling wasn't so bad this time with the plastic wrap. It was the shaping part. Never mind, I'll probably be moving back to a more temperate part of Australia in the next year or so.

  5. They look so good. I tried that folding technique after seeing it online, but it didn't work out very well for me so I ended up using Rose's technique. if you get a chance, I hope you'll stop by and see my post.

    Patricia @ ButterYum

  6. Catherine: repeat after me--"Even the mistakes taste good!" If it looks cute, that's nice, but what really matters is how it tastes! They look delicious!