I’m going to be honest with you. I’m Jewish, and I’m not always thrilled with the ethnic and holiday food that comes with that territory(Exhibit A: Gefilte Fish). And actually the Jewish side of my family spends more time worrying about important things like the Mets, and doesn’t spend much time recreating the classics in the kitchen. Have you ever heard the joke:
What do Jewish women make best?
My grandmother in a nut shell. Perhaps that’s why I tend to be sort of a free agent when it comes to family ethnic food. I grew up with a lot more Italian, and classic American food than the Eastern European/Israeli dishes of my ancestors.
I can probably count the Jewish food that I find eatable on one hand: latkes (duh), Challah bread, Matzah ball soup, Charoset, and Hamantaschen.
Hamantaschen is a cookie made for Purim, which was last week. They are simple and fantastic. They always remind me of pre-school at my temple when we dressed up in costumes for Purim, and ate hamantaschen like there was no tomorrow. It’s similar to a mild, soft shortbread with jam. Martha Stewart posted a recipe for it last week, so I thought I would get into the Purim spirit and give them a try.
Yields about 2 dozen(maybe less if you make them big), from Martha
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 lemon juice and zest
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- fruit preserves for filling
- Mix together eggs and sugar.
- Add oil, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla.
- Combine flour with baking powder and add gradually to wet mixture.
- Allow dough to chill for an hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough and use about a 3 inch circle cookie cutter to cut the cookies. Place the circles on parchment lined baking sheets. Put a small amount of preserves in the middle of each circle. Paint the perimeter of the circle with a little water. Fold three sides of the circle into the center to form a triangle with a view of the preserves in the middle. Make sure the joints are joined.
- Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Remove when slightly golden brown, allow to cool. The preserves will be hot and bubbly when it comes out of the oven, you want to make sure the cookies set a little before you move them around too much. Otherwise it’s a hot mess, literally.
(I sent these to my grandparents, because I know my grandmother isn’t making them…)