Cardamom Scented Hamantaschen with Pear & Goat Cheese Filling

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a twist on hamantashen

For a pareve version simply replace butter with canola oil and omit the goat cheese. They will still have plenty of flavor.

A bit of change might awaken the inner child and get us to explore the origin of the tradition and how it has evolved. According to Shmil Holland, a food historian and restaurateur in Israel, we first heard about a pastry called montash in 16th century Germany where mohn meant poppy seeds and tasch meant a pocket. When the Jews left Germany for Eastern Europe in the late middle ages they took the poppy seed parcels with them and made adaptations of the original version of the recipe for hamantaschen, making them the most popular Purim cookie to this day.

In Hebrew the triangular cookies are called oznei Haman (literally translated; ears of Haman), perhaps because Haman’s ears drooped into a triangular fold, symptomatic of the devastation over his demise. A well-known reason for the triangular-shaped cookies is Haman’s famous triangular shaped hat. Poppy seeds are a traditional hamantaschen filling, as well as fruit jams and other sweets.

Cream Cheese Hamantashen
  • Duration
  • Prep Time
  • 2 dozen ServingsServings

Ingredients

For the Pastry:

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ stick butter, or ¼ cup canola oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons cardamom or Jamie Geller Hawaij for Coffee
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling:

  • ½ cup water
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 lb firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch dice
  • ¾ cup apricot jam
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 8 -oz soft goat cheese (optional)

Preparation

Prepare the pastry:
1 In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.
2 Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
3 Divide the dough in half and chill in plastic wrap for ½ hour.

Prepare the filling:
1 Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat until sugar has dissolved.
2 Add the lemon juice, ginger and pears and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until pears are tender. Set aside to cool.

To Assemble and bake:
1 On a generously floured surface, preferably on baking paper, roll out the dough to ¼” thickness. Roll once, then pick up the flattened dough and turn it 90 degrees. Sprinkle with more flour if necessary and roll it out again. Repeat until dough is of sufficient thickness (This procedure helps prevent the dough from sticking).  Use a round cookie cutter or glass with 2-3” diameter to cut out circles of dough.
2 Smear a very thin layer of apricot preserves in the center of each circle.
3 Sprinkle ½ teaspoon walnuts and a small piece of crumbled goat cheese.
4 Top with 1 teaspoon of pear jam.
5 Lift up the edges of the circle to form a triangle. Pinch the corners securely so that they don’t open in the oven.
6 Line a cookie sheet with baking paper and place the assembled hamantaschen on the cookie sheet. Chill the hamantaschen in the freezer for
about half an hour.
7 Repeat with second half of dough.
8 Bake the hamantaschen in the oven at 375° F for 20-24 minutes or until golden. Cool on rack.