Thursday, September 27, 2007

One of the Biblical Seven (Fig) Pomegranate Hamantashen


Searching for this month's SHF recipe, I ran into a lot of amazing past SHF recipes that also called for the theme: figs. For all the wide worldness of the web, special interests keep us coming back to the same sites again and again.

This month, for SHF # 35, I'm honoring two special religious holidays by giving a flavor and tradition twist to a friend's Hamantashen recipe. Apologies in advance--as with most things, I've muddied up the waters a bit with no intend to offend, but you must understand that blogging is about all I have to keep me vaguely in step with society. My wayward id bakes and storytells with rampant abandon and responds badly to temperance.

In honor of this September's Sukkot, I present a Jewish recipe for Hamantashen. Hamantashen is traditionally associated with Purim, not Rosh Hashanah. In the middle of the pastry I've included fresh figs. The fig was one of the Biblical seven species, but it's paired with a strong flavor partner: pomegranate.

The pomegranate is in honor of Mabon, more commonly known as the Autumnal Equinox. A lucky shot of a baby pom on a neighborhood tree taken last year.

It's time to celebrate the New Year, the second harvest and for me, give thanks for blessings. Here's an interesting ritual for those of you wanting both a sugar and ritual high.




Fig Pomegranate Hamantashen


1/4 lb. unsalted butter
1/2 c. sugar (I used caster, it's my sugar of choice these days)
3 eggs
Grated zest of one orange (I used a lemon, still yummy)
2 c. flour- I went with whole wheat as an experiment
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Filling- I totally transformed this into: 1 cup of fresh figs (I didn't skin them- high risk taker), 1/4 c. water, 1/2 tbsp. of caster sugar, 1 tbsp. of pomegranate molasses and I nixed the nuts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugar until well-blended. Beat in 2 of the eggs and the orange zest until blended thoroughly. Add flour, baking powder and salt and blend until smooth.

Transfer to a floured board and divide dough into 3-4 portions. Flatten each portion in palm of the hand and roll out to 1/4" thick. Cut into 2 1/2" rounds. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each round. Fold dough edges of each into the center to form a triangle, leaving a bit of the filling visible. Pinch edges to secure. Place each cookie 1/2" apart on a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet and brush with the remaining egg (lightly beaten). Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown. Cool on racks.

A funny thing happened on my way to adding the filling- I didn't roll the dough thin enough and when I tried to fold in the corners, the pom-fig mixture seeped out. So I tried shaping the three points of the triangle by molding the dough 90 degrees upward- which made basting at the end with egg a total nightmare (you end up basting the filling). I also got inspired to add in "a little Jewish/Swedish action" at the end and reserved some of my mixture for later so I could experiment with lingonberries in the center (some Lingonsylt I procured from Ikea recently) instead.

As you might have guessed, 10 minutes was nowhere near enough baking time. But all those snafus and "bright ideas" at the end really just made them look like crap- many baked right open (omitted from the photo below). David liked them and they weren't too sweet at all! I think I would skip the whole wheat flour if anything. Lingonberries are a yummy twist. Le Chaim!

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