Spiced hamantaschen makes a sweet, tangy treat for Purim. (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Spiced hamantaschen makes a sweet, tangy treat for Purim. (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Fall spices put some spring in your hamantaschen

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Purim is nearly upon us, so of course I’ve been thinking of hamantaschen. This year I’m using a lightly spiced dough with two kinds of sweet and tart fillings: pomegranate molasses, raisin and almond, and lemon and pistachio.

The dough for this traditional Ashkenazi cookie is adapted from a recipe from Chabad of Marin. (See last year’s column for more options and creative fillings.)

Use purchased or homemade lemon curd. Find pomegranate molasses in Middle Eastern, kosher and specialty food stores.

Purim this year begins at sundown on March 6 and continues until sundown on March 7.

Spiced Hamantaschen Dough

Makes 36 to 42 cookies

  • ½ cup vegetable shortening or solid coconut oil
  • ½ cup unsalted butter or parve margarine, softened
  • 1¼ cups sugar, plus extra
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • ¼ cup milk or orange juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2½ tsp. baking powder
  • 4 cups flour, plus extra
  • Fillings, see below (or use your favorites)

Use an electric mixer on medium-high to beat shortening, butter and 1¼ cups sugar until mixture is in lentil-size pieces, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3 eggs. Mix on medium-high until smooth, 2 minutes. Lower to medium speed. Add milk or O.J. and vanilla. Beat until very smooth. Mix in cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, salt and baking powder. Add 1 cup flour. Beat until incorporated. Repeat with the next 2 cups. Add the last cup by quarters, stopping when dough is firm, pliable and not sticky.

Shape into a flat disk on a floured work surface. Cover. Let rest 10 minutes. (Or wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Use at room temperature.)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Crack remaining egg into a small bowl. Beat with fork. Divide dough into 3 flattened disks. Roll first disk out on  floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Use 3- to 3½-inch round cookie cutter to cut out rounds, rerolling scraps. Lay out on baking sheets. Repeat.

Lightly brush tops with egg. Place 1 tsp. filling (from below) in the center of 3-inch round (1¼ tsp. for 3½-inch round). Fold 3 sides of circle toward the filling in the center to form triangle, with smallest opening possible (prevents leakage). Press to make sure seams are closed. Brush tops and sides with egg. Sprinkle with sugar (optional). Bake 18 to 25 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool on rack. Store airtight for 3 days.

Pomegranate, Raisin and Almond Filling

Makes 2¼ cups (for 36 to 42 cookies)

  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 Tbs. almond flour or finely ground almonds

Combine pomegranate molasses, water, sugar, zest and cinnamon in saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Stir in chopped almonds, raisins and almond flour. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring often, until thick. Chill (filling will continue thickening) for 2 hours. Use cold. If too stiff, let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Make up to 3 days ahead.

Lemon and Pistachio Filling

Makes 2¼ cups (for 36 to 42 cookies)

  • 2 cups unshelled raw or unsalted roasted pistachios, divided
  • 2 cups lemon curd
  • 1 Tbs. grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs. powdered sugar plus extra
  • 1 Tbs. cornstarch

Very finely chop 1 cup nuts. Coarsely chop remainder. Stir together both chopped nuts, curd, zest, sugar and cornstarch. Chill until cold, about 2 hours (or up to 3 days ahead). Use cold. If runny, stir in powdered sugar as needed.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].