Ten years ago, I taught my very first Sunday school class, a group of awesome sixth-graders who came twice a month to the (late, lamented) Silverlake/Los Feliz Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles. That particular JCC primarily served families with little other connection to the Jewish community, so we felt a special obligation during classes to give the kids the best possible taste of Judaism we could.
When Purim rolled around, I knew that meant we'd be making our own hamentashen, those triangular, fruit-filled cookies we trot out for Purim. However, as a recent college grad only starting to understand what to do in the kitchen, I needed to find the simplest recipe possible--and then make several batches of it together with a dozen 12-year-olds. I scoured the Internet and came up with this one, chosen primarily for its lack of overnight refrigeration or zesting of any citrus fruit. [Please note: I love citrus zest, but 23-year-old David wasn't quite as savvy as the David who's writing this today.]
Makes about three dozen
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup oil
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 5 1/2 to 6 cups flour
- 1-2 small jars baked good filling (apricot, prune, cherry, poppyseed, etc.)
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix together eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla.
- Add baking powder and flour.
- Knead until smooth.
- Roll out very thin (1/8 inch if you can) on a floured board.
- Cut out circles with a drinking glass.
- Put a dollop of filling in the center of each circle.
- Fold in three sides over the filling to make a triangle with filling showing in the center.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.
Gabrielle, who taught the third- and fourth-graders at that school, recommended dipping your finger in water and using it to gently moisten the rim of the dough circles before you fold them--she claimed it helps them stick or keep their form or something. All I know is that our third- through sixth-graders managed to create a good lookin' and better tastin' batch in no time, so I'm sure you can handle it too.
Photos are from Flickr under Creative Commons licenses; please click on the images for sources.
David Levy is the marketing director of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. From 2010 to 2013, he was editor of JewishBoston.com.