Tradition, shmadition, I hate poppy seed hamantaschen. I find this old-world filling to be gritty and saccharine and really just a vile affront to the taste buds. So when a friend suggested bringing a can of the corn syrup-laden stuff to my recent hamantaschen-making party, I kindly (but firmly) let her know that my home is mohn-free.
I don’t think she missed it too much. My kitchen table was strewn with interesting pots of jam (cherry-apricot from the farmers’ market, and blueberry canned last summer by the Adamah fellows), a container of raw honey, another of Nutella, and even a jar of peanut butter brought by a friend who insisted it could be great (it was).
But the highlight of the evening, without a doubt, centered around our experiments with savory hamantaschen - pockets of dough filled with an earthy mixture of sauteed mushrooms, browned onions, and a garlic and basil-infused jack cheese by the Sugar River Cheese Co. As we bit in to the warm, herb-flecked treats, it felt like something of a Jewish food revolution. Poppy seeds, watch your back.
Photos and recipe below the jump…
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp dried rosemary, basil, or oregano
Cream butter, sugar and egg. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and herbs together. Add 1/2 of dry mixture into wet ingredients and combine until smooth. Add milk, then remaining flour, mixing until incorporated. If dough is sticky at this point, continue adding flour until it is firm enough to withstand being rolled out.
Gently roll out dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a circular cookie cutter or the rim of a wide-mouthed glass and put on a baking sheet. Dot each circle with filling (see below). Sprinkle with grated cheddar or jack cheese, if desired. Pinch corners into triangles. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until delicately browned.
Savory Onion and Mushroom Filling
3/4 pound white cap or cremini mushrooms
1 medium onion, diced
4 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup red wine
Remove mushroom stems and chop finely. Chop onion into a small dice. Heat oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat and brown onions – 5-8 minutes. Add mushrooms and let cook until fragrant and about halved in size. Add red wine and salt and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until liquid is dissolved. Let cool before stuffing into hamantaschen. If you have leftover filling, it also makes a great pasta topper or bruschetta.
- feta, spinach and kalamata olives
- sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta,
- ground beef (or meatless Quorn grounds) sauteed with pinenuts, currants, nutmeg and cinnamon. Leave the herbs out of the dough recipe, if you’re going this route.
Photos taken by Yoshie Fruchter, Chris Ahern, and Ellen Smith.