Purim is one of the most exciting holidays on the Jewish calendar, yet its signature food, hamantaschen, is not! Triangle shaped and traditionally filled with uninspired flavors, it’s no wonder this pastry is frequently disappointing. Fortunately, pastry chef Paula Shoyer is on a mission to transform hamantaschen from bland and boring to tasty and tantalizing.

According to Paula: “This is a variation on a recipe from my husband Andy’s grandmother Celia Shoyer, from Romania. I like to fill this dough with raspberry jam, but feel free to use any filling you like.”

This recipe is courtesy of “The Holiday Kosher Baker” by Paula Shoyer.

Vanilla Bean Hamantaschen

Yields 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • Dough:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • Seeds of one vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup raspberry or other jam

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for one hour to firm up.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two or three large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, or plan to bake in batches. Divide the dough in half.
  4. Take another two pieces of parchment and sprinkle flour on one, place one dough half on top, and then sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough. Place the second piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll on top of the parchment until the dough is about ¼-inch thick. Every few rolls, peel back the top parchment and sprinkle a little more flour on the dough.
  5. Use a 2- to 3-inch drinking glass or round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. Use a metal flat-blade spatula to lift up the circle of dough and place it on another part of the flour-sprinkled parchment paper.
  6. Place up to 1 teaspoon of jam in the center of the dough circle and then fold the three sides in toward the middle to form a triangle, leaving a small opening in the center. Pinch the three sides together very tightly. Place the triangle on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and scraps, making sure to sprinkle a little flour under and over the dough before you roll.
  7. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned but the tops are still light. Slide the parchment paper onto wire racks to cool the cookies.
  8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days or freeze for up to three months.

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