I took these pictures last Purim to illustrate a little-discussed aspect of the aspect of hamantashen baking: Cookie cleavage.
By this I mean, how much of the filling is left exposed? And if your dough relaxes during baking, and the cookie opens up a little, how much exposed filling do you consider acceptable? Do the laws of tzniut apply to cookie fillings in the Haredi communities? I’m just asking.
Very tightly buttoned up hamantashen, where you have to guess at the filling really were a problem for me as a child, since I loved prune-filled hamantashen, and hated I poppyseed. I threw away many a lump of poppyseed filling, after first eating the uncontaminated corners.
The more relaxed ones, that show just a peek, a tiny bit of filling, are easier to figure out because you can at least tell the color of the filling. But the apricot-filled ones always went first at the parties, and I still threw out a few poppyseed hamantashen, thinking they were prune. Hebrew school was not that well lit.
As a baker, I can tell you I have agonized over this choice. In the end, I decided to adopt an open but not overly open cookie. I like to make hamantashen with homemade chocolate ganache filling. It is a very delicious cookie, and won the Hamantashen Bake-Off at Congregation Etz Chayim. I am proud of my chocolate filling, so I show it off.
But if I neglect to seal the corners of my hamantashen tightly enough, they relax, and open up, and I do not use it for my shalach manot plates.
Because with the filling all exposed like that, the hamantashen become tarts. And that’s a different kind of cookie.
Preeva Tramiel is a freelance writer in Palo Alto, California. She blogs at Melon Memories and Jewesses with Attitude, the blog of the Jewish Women’s Archive. Photos by Prevva Tramiel, used with permission.