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Hamantaschen (Savory Edition)

In my previous post about sweet hamantaschen, I promised to share their savory counterpart. This one was a bit more of an improvisation adventure but after some setbacks they turned out amazing.


I couldn't find any recipes for a savory (or just not super sugary) hamantaschen dough online that wasn't essentially pie crust, and I really wanted the dough to be more of a savory cookie dough than pastry. Mostly because I was feeling lazy, and even though making pie crust isn't hard, sometimes it feels daunting anyway.


Long story short, the savory dough I made up turned out pretty awful. As the Great British Bakers might say, I had to toss it in the bin. That wouldn't deter me from achieving a lovely savory hamantaschen, however! As we have all learned to do during quarantine, I pivoted.


I always keep frozen puff pastry in the freezer, so I decided to make a hamantaschen "shell" out of pastry and then add the savory fillings to it after baking. Perhaps this strays a bit far from true hamantaschen; to that I say, "perhaps I don't care, as long as it's delicious."


Here's how I made these savory hamantaschen based on a Jewish bagel brunch:


1) Let puff pastry thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes. (Go ahead and judge me for buying puff pastry instead of making my own, but do know that legends like Mary Berry and Ina Garten also use store bought puff pastry.) While the pastry thaws, preheat your oven to 400 and take out cream cheese to come to room temperature.


2) Cut puff pastry into triangles or circles the size you want your hamantaschen to be. I did triangles because I had a leftover triangle of puff pastry from another recipe. However, my guess is that a circle would be easier to shape into the hamantaschen shape.


3) Brush the pastry with egg wash, and use the egg wash to glue the pastry into the triangular hamantaschen shape. I did this by cutting small slits in each corner and overlapping the two pieces.


4) Brush the outside of the hamantaschen shell with egg wash and sprinkle everything bagel seasoning on the edges.


5) Put a triangle of parchment paper into the middle of the hamantaschen shell and fill it with baking beans (baking beans are just dried beans you don't plan to eat). This will weigh down the inside of the shell while it bakes to ensure you have space for your fillings. (My puff pastry was so strong that it actually ended up raising the beans, so make sure you put a lot of beans so it is heavy enough.)


6) Put the pastry shells in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Baking pastry from frozen ensures the crispest layers because the water in the butter evaporates before it can melt out.


7) Remove from the freezer and bake according to the package directions, which likely will tell you 400 degrees for 15 minutes.


8) While the pastry bakes, make your seasoned cream cheese. Mix cream cheese, goat cheese, and whatever fresh herbs and spices you prefer. (The amount you need will depend on how many you are making - it's fine to eyeball it! Leftover seasoned cream cheese is great on bagels, crackers, chips, or a spoon directly into your mouth.) I used fresh thyme, red pepper flakes, herbs de provence, garlic powder, and black pepper.


9) Put the cream cheese in a piping bag. The easiest way to load a piping bag is to stand it up in a pint glass.


10) Once the shells are out of the oven, remove the beans. If the insides puffed up and there isn't much room for filling, use a paring knife to cut around the inside edge and then gently push down the middle to create a well.


11) Let the pastry cool completely.


12) Pipe cream cheese into the center of your pastry hamantaschen. Top with lox, fresh dill, black pepper, red onion, and capers. (The onion and capers are not pictured because I didn't have any in the house.)




 
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