Better than you had in Hebrew School
Maybe you don’t have time to make three dozen hamantaschen for your kid’s class completely from scratch. In which case, store-bought dough will definitely do.
Makes 30 cookies
One 16½ oz [470 g] store-bought sugar cookie dough
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 recipe Apricot Filling (Below)
Crumble the dough into a big mixing bowl. Drizzle the vegetable oil over the dough, then, using your hands, mix until well combined. Divide the dough into two balls and press on them to make disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the dough on a well-floured work surface until about ⅛ in [3 mm] thick. Use more flour if you need — just don’t let the dough stick!
Using a 3 in [8 cm] round cutter, cut out as many rounds as you can and carefully place them on the prepared baking sheet. Ball up the remaining dough, roll it out, and cut more rounds. Repeat until you have used up all the dough. Place about 1 tsp of filling in the middle of each round of dough. Fold three sides in, over- lapping the corners to get a classic triangular hamantasch. Pinch the corners to seal and smooth any cracks. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Bake for about 15 minutes.
Substitute prunes for the dried apricots in the apricot filling.
In a small saucepan, whisk together 1 cup [300 g] of strawberry or raspberry jam with 2 Tbsp cornstarch over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes. While the jam filling cools, roll out the pastry. Substitute the jam for the apricot filling.
Substitute 1 cup [180 g] mini semisweet chocolate chips for the apricot filling. This one’s extra easy and always a hit.
Combine 1 cup [140 g] ground poppy seeds, 1/2 cup [120 ml] milk, ¾ cup [255 g] honey, pinch of salt, and maybe some grated lemon zest in a food processor; pulse into a coarse paste. Substitute the poppy-seed paste for the apricot filling.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup [160 g] of chopped, dried apricots and ¾ cup [180 ml] of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and turn down the heat to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the water has been absorbed and the apricots are soft. Transfer to a food processor and add ¼ cup [60 ml] of water. Blend until a smooth, thick paste is achieved. You should have 1 cup [240 ml] of filling. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Reprinted from Eat Something by Evan Bloom with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020
Rachel Levin is a freelance journalist who was the first San Francisco restaurant critic for Eater, and has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Lucky Peach, and Sunset, among other publications. The 2018 recipient of Les Dames Escoffier’s Karola Saekel Craib Excellence in Food Journalism Fellowship, Rachel recently launched a new semi-regular column in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food section on restaurant regulars, illustrated by George McCalman. Her work has twice been included in Best Food Writing anthologies, and she has contributed to AMP’s Marketplace and Pop-Up magazine. She is the author of Look Big: And Other Tips for Surviving Animal Encounters of All Kinds (Ten Speed, 2018).