Around this time last year, the temple we attended before we moved announced a “Hamantaschen Bake-Off”, to be held at the annual Purim celebration.
A hamantaschen competition? If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I was ALL. OVER. THIS.
I had been toying with the idea of a lemon meringue version, and since I had a jar of fancy curd leftover from these tartlets, I decided to give them a try.
The good news? They were DELICIOUS. Like little lemon meringue pies.
The bad news? A communications glitch meant that I did not receive word that the contest was cancelled, and so I was the lone “entry”:
Awkward moment aside, the cookies were a hit with all, and declared the winner anyway. I’d like to think you’ll agree.
I’ve got the recipe for you today, and (as always), keep in mind the following tried-and-true tips for best results:
1. Roll the dough to about 1/4″ thickness – this will seem too thick but a thinner dough will not hold its shape as well.
2. Use only about 1/2 teaspoon of filling per cookie – again, this will seem wrong, like, how can this possibly be enough? Well, here’s the thing: as the cookies bake, the filling expands and pushes the sides of the dough that you’ve so carefully and painstakingly pinched and shaped. The more filling, the more misshapen the finished cookie will be. If you don’t care about the look, and want more filling, you can go up to one teaspoon. But your hamantaschen will likely not be as pretty.
3. Glue those suckers SHUT – an egg wash is essential to seal the sides. I always want to skip this step and always regret it when I do.
4. Freeze before baking – after the egg wash “glue”, stick your tray in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. This will pretty much ensure that your cookies stay intact once placed in the oven.
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3 tablespoons + 1/2 cup sugar (plus extra, for sprinkling the dough)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
zest of one lemon
1/2 cup lemon curd
3 egg whites
Make the dough: Cream butter, cream cheese and 3 tablespoons sugar till fluffy. Add one egg, vanilla and salt – mix till combined. Add flour and beat just till well-incorporated. Separate the dough into two halves and place each between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Roll each dough to about 1/4″ thickness. Stack the doughs on a baking sheet or cutting board and refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to three days.
Pre-heat oven to 375 – line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the remaining egg with one tablespoon of water.
Working with one dough at a time, remove plastic wrap and place on one of your prepared baking sheets. Cut out circles with a drinking glass or cookie cutter (I used a 2 1/2″ cutter here). Remove trimmings and set aside.
Place 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon curd in the center of each circle. Fold the dough into a triangle shape and pinch the corners firmly together. Brush tops of cookies with a little of the beaten egg. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Repeat with remaining sheet of chilled dough, and again with the dough scraps. Place cookies in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.
Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until golden; about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Make the meringue: In a mixing bowl beat egg whites on low speed, till frothy and completely covered in tiny bubbles. Increase speed to medium, gradually adding the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. When soft peaks form when the beater is raised, increase speed to high – beat until meringue is stiff and glossy. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star or plain tip. Pre-heat oven to broil; set rack 8″ from the top.
Pipe some meringue atop each cookie – place in the oven and broil till browned; 1 – 2 minutes. Alternatively you can use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Sheri Silver
Want more hamantaschen? Check out my Pinterest board!