For those of you who are unfamiliar with Purim, like many Jewish holidays, it celebrates how the villain’s plot to destroy the Jewish people was foiled. The Jews are saved, and the villain is vanquished. The holiday takes place before Passover, and it’s very festive. In fact, there is usually a carnival-like celebration that includes plays and costumes, and Jews are supposed to drink so much on Purim that they can’t tell the difference between the cursed Haman and the blessed Mordecai, although how much alcohol that actually is remains unclear. And, of course, there are cookies called hamentaschen!
While I didn’t make it to a Purim carnival this year, I did make poppy seed-filled hamentaschen. Hubby had never had them before, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to take my cookie baking skills up a notch. Admittedly, they weren’t the prettiest cookies I’ve made, but they were recognizably hamentaschen.
To go with the baking fun, I opened a 2010 Gamla Cabernet Sauvignon (winery, snooth). The wine is made in the Galilee region of Israel with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It was a very dark purple with a hint of ruby on the rim. On the nose, there were currants, blackberries, and dark cherries with a hint of nutmeg, black pepper, and vanilla. In the mouth, there were dark fruits mixed with nutmeg and hints of vanilla, cocoa powder, and black pepper. The wine had a full-body, good acidity, and strong tannins.
Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely! If you see this wine/beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $17, this wine is a good everyday Cab, although it needs a little time to breathe to help take away some of the sharpness. Finding a good kosher red wine under $20 continues to be challenge for me,so I was pleased to find this one. It was enjoyable on its own, and I imagine it would pair nicely with a heavier dish like pasta and truffle sauce or beef ribs. This wine also has a little bit of aging potential, so if you have the space, it may be worth buying a bottle to drink now, as well as a second bottle to enjoy in two or three years.
The cookies ended up being a big hit at work, particularly with my coworkers who had never tried hamentaschen before, but they were not such a hit at home. Hubby ate one, said he was glad he tried it, and left the rest for me to take to work. I thought they turned out well, and the poppy seed filling was a good match for the Gamla Cabernet. All in all, it wasn’t the best pairing I’ve done, but it wasn’t the worst one either.
Question of the Day: Have you had a kosher red wine that you’ve enjoyed lately? (I’d love to hear your recommendations!)
Hamantaschen with Poppy Seed Filling
(*adapted from Rose Levy Beranabum’s recipe in The Baking Bible)
Ingredients for Poppy Seed Filling
- 3/4 cup poppy seed
- 1/1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon and 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons apricot jam
Directions for Poppy Seed Filling
- In a spice mill or blender, grind the poppy seeds. They will fluff to about 1 cup.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk
- Add the poppy seeds, stirring until milk is absorbed (a few seconds).
- Remove the pan from the heat and add sugar, honey, lemon zest, and 1 Tablespoon jam.
- Cool at room temperature.
Ingredients for Egg Glaze
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons milk
Directions for Egg Glaze
- In small bowl, whisk yolk and milk.
- Strain the mixture into another small bowl, pushing it through the strainer with the back of a spoon.
- Discard the thicker part that does not pass through.
Ingredients for Dough
- 1 stick butter, cold
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In medium bowl, mix together flour and salt. Set aside.
- In small bowl, mix together egg yolk, heavy cream, and vanilla. Set aside
- Grind sugar in food processor until fine,
- Cube the cold butter.
- Add to food processor and pulse until sugar disappears.
- Add flour mixture and pulse until the butter is no larger than small peas.
- Add egg-cream-vanilla mixture and pulse until just incorporated, about 8 times. Dough should be crumbly pieces.
- Place dough in plastic bag or on large sheet of plastic wrap and press until it holds together.
- Knead a few times until it becomes one smooth piece and ensure there is no visible pieces of butter.
- Press into ball.
- Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit for 5 minutes or until you can roll it without cracking the dough.
- Using floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll dough into 1/2 inch thick rectangle.
- Cut out 3-inch discs of dough
- Place cookies on lined, chilled cookie sheets. Keep cookies about 2 inches apart.
- Brush outer 1/2 inch of dish with thin coating of egg glaze (it’s not necessary to cover all the dough).
- Place 1-2 teaspoons of poppy seed filling into the center of disc
- Fold disc into triangle (Tori Avey has easy to follow directions on how to fold properly).
- Brush outside of dough with thin coating of egg glaze for shine.
- Once formed, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help hold shape when baking.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F.
- Bake for 6-8 minutes; rotate cookie sheet; bake for another 6-8 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Purchased at Kosherwine.com
Overall: 4 Corks