The Hamentashen Tester's Notes- How to Achieve Hamentashen Perfection
By Faigy Akda, Lubicom Staff
By now you probably have seen dozen of creative Hamentashen recipes. Whether sweet or savory, stuffed with pulled beef or Greek yogurt, the food bloggers and magazines are getting very creative.
The thing that stands out most about Purim; the preparations for the festivities are just as fun as the actual day. There is nothing like a baking party with differently flavored dough, a spread of both savory and sweet fillings and of course open bottles of wine.
Here are some tester’s notes to make sure every batch of Hamentashen comes out perfectly.
- Rolling the dough
The trickiest, most accident-prone aspect of making dough is the rolling process. Yes, there is such as a thing as overworking the dough, especially if you start rolling your dough before it is room temperature, in which case your dough is very likely to crack.
Another common mistake is that people roll their dough out very unevenly, with the dough on the sides ending up thicker than the edges. You want to avoid this because thinner places in the dough will brown (read: burn) more quickly than the thicker areas. To prevent this, try using a French rolling pin (a wooden pin that is thick in the middle and narrowed at the ends) and refrain from rolling the dough to the very edges. Roll from the center of the dough to one inch of the edge.
- Too much filling
Everyone loves when their Hamentashen are full of their favorite fillings. It’s kind of tempting to add as much jam into the small circle as possible. But, more often than not, it will end up burning. When there is too much filling, it ends up leaking out of the dough and burning on parchment paper. Your best bet is to limit the amount of filling and end up with perfectly shaped and baked Hamentashen.
Additionally, you have to make sure the filling is a thick consistency. Just because it’s sweet and comes in a cute jar doesn’t make it fit for baking. Stick to those thicker preserves instead of the watered down jellies.
- Pinch the corners
Sometimes no matter how tightly you pinch the three corners of your dough, the filling finds its way onto the baking paper. This can be resolved by, firstly, not overfilling the Hamentashen. You can also brush the dough with an egg wash after filling and pinching the corners. This tends to hold everything in place and gives your Hamentashen an extra shine. Try popping your Hamentashen into the freezer for 15 minutes before baking, to help keep the shape.
- Preheating your oven
How many of us constantly question the importance of pre-heating your oven? It’s often a step that is missed, a waste of time almost, no? However, after learning why, you’ll change your mindset.
Time and temperature affect the texture and flavor of baked good, and starting in a cold oven changes both of those variables. When you give your baked goods a cold start, you’re most likely to end up with something hard and dry and definitely not crispy and crunchy. The expansion that you are looking for when you include baking soda/powder or yeast happens with the heat from the get-go. So, no matter how much of a rush you are in, preheating your oven is essential.