Neighbor Darcy Lee, the domestic doyenne of the fabulous Heartfelt on Cortland, has been making trouble in the kitchen again. Just in time for the festive Jewish Purim holiday, she passes along this fun new recipe. Neighbor Darcy calls it “Shiksa Hamantashen,” and it’s a new take on an Old Country classic:
I lived in New York City for many years and I loved trying different foods. The Indian food on 6th Street, Italian semolina bread and cannoli in Little Italy, spicy Szechuan dishes in Chinatown, and New York style pizza, greasy and so cheap by the slice. I remember in February, filled-triangular-cookies would start showing up next to the black & whites. “What are they filled with?” I would ask. Poppy seed, prune or apricot usually. I had no idea why they appeared only at this time of year but I grew very fond of them.
Here is what Jewish Food expert Gora Shimoni has to say, ” The tradition to eat hamantashen on Purim began in Europe. The word hamantashen derived from two German words: mohn (poppy seed) and taschen (pockets). Mohntaschen is German for ‘poppy seed pockets’ and was a popular German pastry. Hamantaschen means ‘Haman’s pockets’ and became a popular Purim pastry. It was rumored that the evil Haman’s pockets were filled with bribe money. The most popular explantion of why Jews eat this three cornered pastry on Purim is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. Eating an image of Haman’s hat is a way to symbolically destroy his memory.”
A few years ago I came across a recipe in Elana Amsterdam’s Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook for hamantaschen. Her picture of them brought back sweet memories. Gluten-free! I gave them a whirl and played with the recipe and this what I settled upon.
I like to experiment with the filling. This year I had a couple of big bags of Costco dried figs and apricots, so I threw them in a pot and covered them with hot water and let them simmer with ½ cup of coconut sugar. Let them cook down for an hour. Then pour the cooled cooked fruit mixture in the food processor and process until you have a thick filling. Raw apple, currants or raisins can be added to the mixture before cooking. She recommends cooking it down with a vanilla bean.
Here is my gluten-free “shiksa hamantaschen” dough recipe:
3 cups blanched almond flour (I also sometimes use the ground almonds from Trader Joe’s, it gives the cookie a grainer, heartier, hippy feel)
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup butter (Shiksa confession: Dunno –is dairy ok at Purim? Ms. Amsterdam uses grapeseed oil)
2 tbsp. agave nectar or honey (often I boil coconut sugar with water to make a yummy syrup that I use for everything)
I tablespoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, combine almond flour and salt.
- In a smaller bowl, mix together melted butter, honey or agave or my coconut sugar syrup and vanilla.
- Mix wet ingredients into dry.
- Roll dough into 1 inch balls; place them on a parchment paper￼ lined baking sheet, then press flat into small circles
- Scoop one teaspoon of filling into each circle of dough
- Fold the dough in from three sides and pinch the corners to form a triangle shaped cookie
- Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes until dough is golden brown
Enjoy your small three cornered hats!
PHOTO: Neighbor Darcy