Friday, February 22, 2013

‏אױף דער לינקער זײַט - ‏ Inside-out Pumpkin Hamentashn --

Purim, like its temporal neighbor Mardi Gras, is a feast of inversion, so turning one's hamentashn inside out seems like the most reasonable thing to do.  I actually like these even better than the right-side-in hamentashn, but both the dough and filling are more difficult to prepare and handle.
I looked at many pumpkin jam recipes while making these.  some call for cooking the pumpkin first, some for starting the jam with raw pumpkin, which is what I did.  I think cooking the pumpkin first might have made a more pumpkiny filling.  Traditional Greek recipes also call for mastic, which I did not have on hand.

Pumpkin Seed Pastry

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) flour
4 1/2 ounces (1 cup) toasted ground pumpkin seeds
5 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces (3/4 cup, 1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 egg
Combine flour, ground seeds,  sugar, and baking powder.  Rub in the butter with a pastry blender or your fingers.  Stir in the beaten egg with a fork.  Chill the dough briefly.

This pliant dough rolled out very nicely and folded into hamentashn with no resistance.  I should have suspected right away it had something up its doughy little sleeve.  The first batch, baked at 375 F, melted into shapeless little blobs.  Flavorful little blobs, but shapeless blobs nevertheless.  The next batch, chilled in the freezer and baked at 325 F, melted into shapeless little blobs (above left).  For the third batch, I just made them into thumbprint cookies and tried to coax them into a triangular shape (above right).

Pumpkin Jam Filling

11 ounces (2 cups diced) pumpkin or other flavorful squash such as butternut or kabocha
11 ounces (1 1/2 cups) sugar
juice and zest of one lemon
5 slices candies ginger
1 small cinnamon stick
3 cloves
Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the pumpkin pieces are soft and the syrup is thick.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.
Roll out the dough about 3/16 inch thick, a bit thicker than your typical hamentash dough, and cut into circles to fill with jam, or simply roll the dough into balls and make indentations for the filling.  Fill with pumpkin jam.  As the components approach room temperature, the dough will get very soft and the filling will get firm, so you are racing the clock.  Chill the formed hamentashn for 20 minutes and bake for 30 minutes.

 ‏אױף דער לינקער זײַט
af der linker zayt  
inside out (literally: on the left side)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

‏באַניע המנטאַשן ‏ - Pumpkin Hamentashen

Pumpkin Pastry

8 ounces (2 cups) flour (I used a mix of all purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) tablespoons brown sugar
4 ounces (1 stick, 1/2 cup) butter
6 ounces (3/4 cup) cream cheese
6 ounces (3/4 cup cooked pumpkin

Combine dry ingredients and butter in the bowl of the processor and pulse to a coarse meal.  Add cream cheese  and pulse until just combined.  Chill a few hours or overnight

Pumpkin Seed Filling

8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) pumpkin seeds
1 cup milk
3/4 cup honey 

Toast the seeds at 375 for 15 minutes or until golden.  Grind to a fine meal in the processor.  cook with milk and honey for about ten minutes or until thick, and allow to cool.


Preheat oven to 375 F.  Roll the chilled dough to 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured surface.  Cut into circles, wet the upper surface of each circle with a brush, fill with pumpkin seed filling, and fold into hamentashn.  You may brush the top surface with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse brown sugar for a nice sweet crunch.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.

Round-up of hamentash recipes

Carrot Filling

Chocolate Dough (English)

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough
(Yiddish) װעגאַן טײג

Chocolate Dough (Yiddish)

Apricot Filling

Poppy Seed Filling

White Poppy Seed Filling

Hemp Seed Filling

Povidl (Prune Filling)

פּאָװידלע Prune Filling (Yiddish)

This year's Purim video

Last Year's Purim video

Hamentashn, hamentashn, homentashn, homentashen, hamentaschen

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

לשנה־טובֿה, בײמער Trees

‏ It is nearly a month since khameshoser, The New Year for trees, and you know what that means.  The joyous and beloved feast of Peysekh is hurtling toward us like whatever that thing was that just smashed into Siberia.  And, like that thing, whatever it was, the danger is great but precious jewels are to be found in the rubble.
In Yiddish, trees are examples of strength (shtark vi a boym), solitude (aleyn vi a boym), and trembling (treystlen zikh vi a boym), among other things.

אױף אײן שלאַק פֿאַלט קײן בױם ניט אײַן
Af eyn shlak falt keyn boym nisht ayn.
A tree does not fall from one blow (Rome was not built in a day)

אַז עס רײַסט זיך אָפּ אַ צװײַגל װײנט מען, אַז עס פֿאַלט אַ בױם שװײַגט מען. ‏
Az es rayst zikh op a tsvaygl veynt men, az es falt a boym, shvaygt men.
They cry when a branch falls, but are silent when a tree falls (there must be an English  saying for this, but I can't think of any)

איבער אַן אײַנגעפֿאַלענעם בױם שפּרינגען אַלע ציגן ‏
Iber an ayngefalenem boym shpringen ale tsign
All the goats jump over a tree that has fallen (nothing fails like failure; nobody knows you when you're old, down, and out).
אַ בױם בײגט זיך נאָר װען ער איז יונג
A boym beygt zikh nor ven es iz yung
 A tree bends only when it is young (you can't teach an old dog new tricks)