Category: Jewish baking

Hamantaschen recipe for Purim.

The best Hamantaschen recipe

Hamantaschen are like mini pies that Jewish people eat during the festival of Purim, which just happens to be this Wednesday. They’re one of those delicacies that my mum always makes for the community and all of the family. Each year before Purim we pick up the girls from Grandma’s after school and we collect little cling filmed wrapped paper plates full of Hamantachen. Very few actually make it through the 10 minute journey home!

When I first made Hamantaschen last year I used my mum’s pastry recipe for Kichel biscuits (I must share that recipe with you some time!) These are simple and moorish round biscuits that are perfect in my eyes. As I also use this pastry recipe for larger apple pies I thought it would be perfect for Hamantaschen. I was wrong! They were really soggy, broke the moment you touched them and just didn’t look like my mum’s!  Then she told me that she uses the Kichel Hamantaschen recipe from ‘The bible’!

The bibleThe New Complete international Jewish cook book

Unbeknownst to me ‘The New Complete International Jewish Cookbook, by Evelyn Rose published by Pavillion (see the link to Amazon on the right) is commonly known as ‘The bible’ by lots of Jewish families and not just mine! We also call it ‘The Red book’ for obvious reasons.

I was given the original version of this book (the black one) for my Bat Chayil in 1985.  (there I go giving away my age!) When the new version came out in 1992 mum bought me and my brother and sister a copy each and we’ve all been using it ever since. I’ll be doing a full review of this book later this week. It’s a great book.

So back to the Hamantaschen.

After last year’s disaster I set about making them again, only this time I used the red book’s recipe. It was a short pastry and made lovely Hamantaschen, but they weren’t the same as my mum’s which have the most delicious pastry. The kind that you don’t mind if you eat a corner of a Hamantaschen without any filling as it’s good on its own.  What I had made were crumbly and practically all of them opened up when baked- but I probably didn’t squish the pastry together well enough!

So I called my mum “What pastry do you use?” I asked. To which she replied. “I use the old book, not the new one”. They have completely different recipes.

So, off I went again. Just as I was about to start mum called me back to say that the pastry is sticky (as it uses oil not butter) and she always adds a bit more flour. I took this on board and set about with Hamantaschen Mark II. But I didn’t read the recipe properly and as I was so busy thinking about how much extra flour to put in that I accidentally added double the amount! Evelyn Rose recipes often give the either or version for flour and I missed that and added both! So what my mum said would be a sticky dough was so dry it wouldn’t bind together at all!

I was not winning!

Hamantaschen Mark III

Hamantaschen recipe

Finally success! I used the old book with the right amount of ingredients and they came out perfectly (maybe a bit puffier than I would have liked) but they tasted just like mum’s so I was finally happy and ready to share them with you…..

Hamantaschen recipe (from the old black book)

(Makes 24)

125g caster sugar

2 large eggs (put some to one side for glazing)

100ml (4 Fl oz) oil – Sunflower is best

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

150g plain flour (plus a table spoon or two more to reduce stickiness)

150g self raising flour (plus a table spoon or two more to reduce stickiness)

Filling ingredients (from the new red book)

50g raisins

225g baking apples (peeled and cored and cooked till tender)

3 tbsp walnuts (optional)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

50g brown sugar

To make the pastry

Heat the oven to 180°c, 350°F, gas mark 4. Line baking trays with baking paper.

Whisk the eggs until they are thick

Add the sugar, oil and vanilla extract and whisk again.

Stir in the flours. I added a table spoon of each flour at a time to reduce the stickiness of the dough but I think I would use more plain and less self-raising next time.

 Stir in the flour  Hamantaschen recipe

You can roll out the dough straight away but I chilled it while I got the fillings ready.

It's a sticky dough

I cheat and use tinned fruit. The apricots (in natural juice) are chopped up and sprinkled with a little sugar brown.

Tinned apricots

The apple is cubed and mixed in with the raisins, brown sugar, walnuts and cinnamon. I soften the raisins in the microwave by adding some water to them in a bowl and giving them a minute on full heat.

Apple filling for Hamantaschen

The dough is really stretchy so needs a little kneading before you roll it out on a floured surface. Roll the dough to a thickness of around ½ cm. If it’s too thick it won’t taste as good and if it’s too thin it will tear when you fold them up. Use a 7cm round cutter to create the circles.

Cut out circles for Hamantaschen

Fold each side over to create a triangle shape. Leave a small gap at the centre for steam to escape. Press the pastry edges together firmly so they don’t pop open in the oven.Apricot Hamantaschen

Folding apple Hamantachen

Brush the top with beaten egg to give it a nice glaze. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tops become golden.

Egg wash the Hamantaschen

Once baked, leave on a wire rack to cool. They will keep for three days in an air tight container. I had visitors yesterday after I made them and they didn’t last! I am about to have the last one with a cup of tea! I guarantee they won’t last a day!

Hamantaschen

enjoy!

N.B. It’s worth mentioning that these are Parve so if you keep to a kosher diet you can make these as a desert after a meat meal. Yay!


Boobalars with Grandma Joan

Channuka treats at the family get together

Grandma Joan

What’s a Boobalar?

I know what you’re thinking. Boobalar is what Jewish Grandmother’s call their grand kids as they hug them and squeeze their chubby cheeks. Well it is, but it’s also the name of these delicious treats. I have searched high and low and scoured Google to find out what the real/ Jewish name is for these yummy Boobalars but I couldn’t find them anywhere. If you know what they are called please pop a comment below and end my curiosity! Thanks

Channuka

Yesterday was the last day of Channuka.  Each year we take it in turns to host our family gathering and this year we met up at my brother’s house. The grown-ups do the Channuka Armadillo (our version of Secret Santa meets Ross from Friends!) and the kids get presents from everyone and of course we light our Menorahs (candle holders).

It’s traditional to eat fried food during Channuka to remind us of the oil that kept the everlasting light burning in the temple in days of old. The traditional cake for Channuka is donuts.  I tried to make donuts a few years ago when we were hosting at my house – lets just say I’ve never lived it down and I am still trying to remove the concrete like batter from my hob to this day! So, yesterday my mum made bubbalars (pronounced boo-bah-lars) for us all. They are seriously yummy, or as my four-year old nephew Asher kept saying when he was eating them “Yummy in my tummy!”

They are a kind of dounut but a bit softer and squidgier and taste amazing when you eat them hot out of the pan. We tear them up and dip the pieces in cinnamon flavoured sugar. I decided to take snap shots as Mum made them so I could share them with you. The only problem was that mum can make them without measuring anything out (She’s a proper Jewish mum!!) So, I had to make some more this morning so I could  measure the ingredients out and I could share them with you. Well really I wanted some more but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Ingredients

(Makes 12 Boobalars)

2 eggs

225ml water

110g matzo meal (this is fine crumbs made from Matzo crackers. It’s available in Waitrose or from Ocado)

300ml sunflower oil (or enough that the Boobalars will float in your pan)

30g granulated sugar

1 tea spoon cinnamon

How to make Boobalars

Add some water

Crack open the eggs into a bowl and add the water. My mum watches to see how it looks to get the right consistency.I measure everything!

Mix up the water and eggs till they are well blended.

Add the matah meal

Add the matzo meal and mix until it forms a fluid batter.

heat the oil

Heat the oil in a pan. This is where my brother was very proud of his Alessi saucepan. I used a deep frying pan today which cooked them much quicker. Either will do the job just make sure you use plenty of oil so the Boobalars don’t touch the bottom.

drop the batter into the oil

When the oil is hot carefully place a spoonful of batter into the oil.

let them bubble awayUse two spoons – one heaped with the batter and the other to encourage it off the spoon.

leave to go golden brown

Leave them to bubble away. They only take a few minutes on each side. Mum’s one’s popped over by themselves when they were ready but mine didn’t (probably due to the differences in the amount of oil they were in) Turn them over when they look slightly cooked at the edges. Take care not to over cook them or they become very heavy. They should be golden brown.

place in an egg box

Mum swears by placing deep-fried food (including her amazing fish balls) to drain  in an old egg carton. They suck up the excess oil much better than kitchen paper. She has a stack of them in her kitchen cupboard at the ready. You can always use kitchen paper on a plate though.

cinnamon sugar

To make the dipping sugar simply place the cinnamon in a bowl with the sugar and mix it with a spoon. We always add tons of cinnamon as we love it!

Now all that’s left to do is tear them up, dip them in the cinnamon sugar and enjoy.

We set the kids up on Sara’s little table and they all gobbled their Boobalars right up. It was actually difficult to get them to stop eating in order to take this picture.

Happy cousins
Beau and Darcey with their cousins Sara and Asher. Note there are no Boobalars left on the serving plate!
The Whole family
The Whole family

I couldn’t resist sharing with you the family picture we took at the end of the day. I love celebrating with my family. We do it often and there is always food and fun involved!

Enjoy!

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