Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

Fruit Tart Hamantaschen

March 10, 2014

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For this, take hamantaschen puff pastry shells, fill them with a spoonful of jam and then top with fresh fruit. Alternatively, you could fill them with vanilla pastry cream (or, more prosaically, vanilla pudding) and then top with fruit. Or you could put in a bit of jam, then vanilla pudding and then the fruit. Or you could fill them with lemon curd and then top with fruit. Or you could pipe in chocolate mousse . . . Well, you get the idea.

As in the above picture, you can dust the top of the tarts with powdered sugar. To make the fruit shiny, brush it with jam (raspberry for berries and apricot for other fruits). An easy trick for glazing the fruit is to put it in a bowl and toss it in a bit of corn syrup. This gives it a clear glaze and also makes the fruit a bit sticky, which helps bind the fruit pieces together.

Update: If you want to fill these with pareve (dairy-free) vanilla pudding, combine a box of Osem pudding mix with 3/4 cup of coconut milk.  Fill each hamantaschen with a small spoonful of pudding mix and top with half a strawberry.

Other Hamantaschen:

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Hamantaschen
Midnight Mint Hamantaschen
Basic Hamantaschen Recipe, plus tips
Darth Vader Hamantaschen
Angelina Ballerina Hamantaschen
Hamantaschen Apple Galette
Lemon Curd Hamantaschen
Hamantaschen Puff Pastry Shells
Hamantaschen French Toast Casserole

Hamantaschen Puff Pastry Shells

March 10, 2014

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This post is for those of you out there who want to make hamantaschen without mixing or rolling out dough, without worrying if the filling is bake-proof and without worrying about the hamantaschen exploding open in the oven.

Part of the answer is using puff pastry dough, and part of the answer is in the method of baking it.  If you have ever tried baking hamantaschen with puff pastry dough, you know that it can be frustrating. Shaped in the traditional manner, from a circle folded into a triangle, puff pastry hamantaschen have an infuriating tendency to explode open when they bake.

So frustrating, right? But a solution is at hand! Instead of working against the tendency of puff pastry to puff, this technique works with it.

Following the method for making puff pastry cases (bouchees and vols-a-vent), the puff pastry is cut into triangles, with a triangle cut out into the center. As the pastry bakes in the oven, the sides of the triangle rise straight up to form a rim around a hollow triangular center. The hollow center can then be filled with whatever you like.

Let me repeat and emphasize this point: the puff pastry hamantaschen are baked without filling. You add the filling later. Baking the shells before filling means that you can use fillings that can’t be baked,  like pastry cream with fresh fruit on top or chocolate mousse (to see how pretty puff pastry shells can look filled with mousse or topped with fruit, take a look at Pastry Pals post about vols-au-vent filled with chocolate chantilly  or passion fruit curd and pinepple).

You could also go with a savory filling. For example, for an appetizer, you could fill the cases with mushrooms in cream sauce.

There are two approaches to making the puff pastry cases. You can use one layer of puff pastry or, for a higher, more elegant case, you can use two layers of puff pastry. With the one layer approach, the center triangle is marked before baking and then, after the pastry case is baked, the triangle is cut out with a knife. With the two layer approach, the bottom triangle of puff pastry dough is the base, and the cut out triangle frame of dough on the top is the rim.

If you go with the single layer approach, you can get 2 1/2 dozen hamantaschen out of a box of puff pastry. You can fill the triangles with different flavors of jam for a very easy and quick batch of hamantaschen.

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Hamantaschen French Toast Casserole

March 5, 2014

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Imagine this: warm, buttery, vanilla and cinnamon scented French toast stuffed with whipped cream cheese and jam.  So good. Now picture that each piece of French toast is shaped and filled like a hamantaschen. Yummy and festive.

Another bonus: this is easily prepped the night before. All you need to do is pop this in the oven the day you want to serve it.

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Han Solo Cup and Chewie Wookie Cookie

February 27, 2014

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I was very amused by this t-shirt of Han Solo and Chewie as a Solo cup and cookie. So, I equipped a Solo cup with a cardboard Solo Blaster and made some Wookie Cookies. Actually, the cookies are just my favorite Pesach cookies with some white and dark chocolate chips used to make eyes, a nose and some teeth.

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Hamantaschen Apple Galette with Super Easy Crust

February 24, 2014

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Pie crusts don’t have to be hard. This galette features a super easy crust that you just stir together. You mix together juice and oil and then stir it into flour until it forms into a ball of dough. The dough doesn’t have to be refrigerated before rolling out and it doesn’t have to be gently handled, either. If you can roll out hamantaschen dough, you can make this crust.

The texture is not flaky, but meltingly tender. Using apple juice and lemon juice in the dough gives the crust a flavor that matches the filling.

The resulting galette is especially delectable warm. Shaped into a hamantaschen it makes a nice dessert for a Purim seudah. You could also shape individual tarts for dessert. There is enough dough for two 9″ tarts or eight 4″ tarts.

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Rose Cookies for Princess Leia

February 20, 2014

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I made Darth Vader hamantaschen, so I thought I would also make cookies that referenced Princess Leia. Actually, these cookies just allude to her famous cinnamon bun hairdo.

You don’t have to flavor these with cinnamon and raisin (although they are delicious that way, too). Basically, this is a rich sour cream rugelach-type pastry dough that is rolled up with meringue. The meringue can be vanilla or chocolate. Optional add ins include raisins, nuts and chopped chocolate.

The inspiration for these cookies was a cryptic e-mail from my sister. She sent a picture of these cookies with no description or comment. When prompted for an explanation, she offered only this: (1) Levana made them; (2) they are filled with meringue mixed with chocolate pudding mix; (3) they are called “foam cookies” in Israel; and (4) a recipe would eventually be forthcoming.

I wasn’t holding my breath waiting for the recipe because it is my understanding that Levana is a “little bit of this and that” and “throw it in a bowl”  kind of cook (“shitarayn”, in Yiddish). So, I did a little bit of research and found that even though Levana calls these Foam Cookies (“Oogiyot Ketzef” in Hebrew?), they are also known as Rose Cookies. In Israel, that would be “Oogiyot Shoshanim.” The recipe comes originally from Eastern Europe and they are also known as Russian Rose Cookies (also see this) or Ukrainian Rose Cookies (Pechivo Troyandiy). I even found a version called Finnish Cookies (Финские Булочки).

(Brief digression: I think that yeast dough versions of this cookie, basically individually baked cinnamon buns or schnecken, are also called shoshanim or roses. Take a look for example at Zucker Bakery’s Chocolate Roses or Tatte Bakery’s Halvah Roses).

I went with the recipe from Pretty Baking in Israel, because that recipe had a filling that called for pudding mix. I didn’t like that filling so much (the problem, admittedly, might have been my KFP pudding mix), so I made the recipe again with a different filling. I also changed the dough a little bit, increasing the sugar to the amount suggested in a very similar recipe on Tastebook for Savta Tova’s Cookies.

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Angelina Ballerina Hamantaschen

February 16, 2014

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My daughter complained that I wasn’t making any girly hamantaschen.

To make Angelina Ballerina (or any other mouse), take the shaped but unbaked hamantaschen and pinch/flatten/shape two corners of the triangle so that they look like mouse ears. It helps if you pinch the hamantaschen completely closed so that there isn’t an opening in the center. Bake the Angelina hamantaschen and let them cool before decorating.

Spread cookie icing on top. Let it dry (I was impatient and didn’t wait long enough. The eyebrows and eyes would have come out better if I had let the icing completely dry). Use food markers to draw on eyes and eyebrows. You can either draw or pipe on the pink ribbon.

My decorating inspiration came from these heart shaped cookies.

Note: I used this hamantaschen dough, but made with 5 ounces of oil instead of margarine or shortening and with the sugar reduced to 3/4 cup.

Darth Vader Hamantaschen

February 14, 2014

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I noticed a while back that hamantaschen that are completely coated in chocolate look a little like Darth Vader’s helmet.  So I decided to try piping a Darth Vader design on top to complete the effect. Piping was kind of a pain. It would have been easier to use this cookie cutter.

Nutty Omega-3 Chocolate Mousse

February 2, 2014

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I spent a lot of time mulling over how to title this post.The recipe is for a decadent chocolate mousse that is dairy-free, egg-free and possibly refined sugar-free. My brother invented the basic recipe, and he calls it Omega-3 Chocolate Mousse. I am going with his name for this recipe, but this also a recipe for chocolate peanut butter mousse, chocolate fruit dip, chocolate spread, and even chocolate frosting. This recipe is just that versatile.

The mousse is soft when first made and can be used as a dip for fruit. When thoroughly chilled, it is thick enough to be used as a frosting or chocolate spread.

The original, basic recipe is simply this: walnuts, plant-based milk, dates and cocoa powder processed together to form a smooth, creamy mousse. The walnuts provide the Omega-3 oil referenced in the title, but you can easily use other nuts or even seeds. This recipe is particularly delicious made with peanut butter, but hazelnut butter, almond butter, cashew butter and sunflower seed butter are also great choices.

It can be made with whole nuts and dates, pureed in a high powered blender. If you use a nut butter and silan (date syrup), it can be very easily stirred together, without any high powered equipment. You could also make your own nut butter ahead of time, so that it is ready for mixing up into mousse (take a look at Mollie Katzen’s instructions for making walnut butter using a food processor).

The flavor of the basic mousse is reminiscent of brownies studded with chopped walnuts. The walnut flavor recedes more into the background if you add the optional melted chocolate. If you use peanut butter, of course, the mousse tastes like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and adding the optional melted chocolate does not mute the strong peanut flavor in the least.

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Levana’s Almond Clusters

December 2, 2013

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Sometimes simple things can be a bit tricky.

My parents raved about my sister’s macheteniste’s nut cookies. “The best cookies I ever ate,” my dad insisted. “And Levana says the recipe is very simple: just sugar, nuts and egg whites stirred together.”

Naturally, I had to pin down the exact recipe. Turns out, Levana’s almond clusters are close cousins to Carine Goren’s almond thins, but with a few crucial twists: (1) the nuts are slivered instead of sliced; (2) the nuts are piled high into little haystacks instead of being spread into a super thin layer; and (3) the sugar is brown instead of white.

These few changes make the difference between a recipe my dad really liked (the almond thins) and one he was crazy about (Levana’s almond clusters). The brown sugar gives huge uptick in flavor, making the sweetness of the nut cookies more interesting, less flat. I think that adding vanilla and almond extract ramps up the flavor even more, but that is an optional addition.

The difficulty was that Levana is the sort of cook who makes everything by instinct instead of a precise recipe. The recipe I started with was “mix together 3 egg whites, a scant cup brown sugar and enough nuts so that the nuts are just coated.” About a pound of nuts? “Yes, about . . . at least!”

I had to experiment a bit to figure out the right ratio of nuts to sugar syrup. The first few batches of cookies had sugar syrup seeping out of them. The sugar syrup  that seeped out on the baking sheet puffed up as the nut clusters baked, making strange looking, crunchy protrusions from the cookies.

Also, the baking time was originally “until brown.” That took figuring out, too. Some batches of cookies came out a bit chewy instead of crunchy. It took me a while to figure out that the solution was drying out the nut clusters in a turned off oven.

With these issues ironed out, these addictive cookies are indeed extremely simple to make.

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