Shaping the hamantaschen
Purim is a joyous Jewish holiday in which we celebrate how Queen Esther helped outsmart and thwart the evil Haman, who had plotted to destroy all the Jews in ancient Shushan (in Prussia). We celebrate by reading the Megillah (Scroll of Esther) and drowning out Haman’s name with noisemakers. We also dress in costumes, play games at Purim carnivals and eat hamantaschen (also spelled hamantashen), which are triangular fruit-filled cookies shaped like Haman’s tri-cornered hat.
In past years, I’ve struggled with making gluten-free hamantaschen. This year, I once again set out to make gluten-free hamantaschen for Purim, so my daughter could have treats to bring to her class parties and family celebrations.
I’m glad I kept trying. The gluten-free, dairy-free hamantaschen below have a delicate taste without a gluten-free grittiness. Honestly, these rolled out like a dream and kept their shape when filled and baked.
If you’re unfamiliar with hamantaschen, they are somewhat similar to the Central European kolache (or is it kolachki?), in that they are cookies with fruit centers. Traditional hamantaschen fillings are prune, poppyseed and apricot, but you can fill them with anything, including any kind of fruit preserves, chocolate chips, M&Ms or Nutella.
For a short video on how to shape the hamantaschen, see my Noshin’ on Hamantaschen post.
On Purim, we eat, drink and be merry. Enjoy!
2020 update: This gluten-free, dairy-free hamantaschen recipe still works like a dream. I originally used a mix of rice flour, sorghum flour, potato starch, tapioca starch and sweet rice flour (back in the day when there weren’t good gluten-free flour blends). Now, I just use Bob’s Red Mill’s 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour, and it works so well! (This is not a sponsored promotion, it’s just my favorite gluten-free flour.) I’ve altered the recipe to reflect this.
Definitely mix up the dough the night before, so the dough is easier to use and so the gluten-free flours have time to hydrate, which will help avoid grittiness.
Here’s a photo of this year’s batch.
(gluten-free, dairy-free, pareve, kid-friendly)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
- 4 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons xanthan gum (omit if it’s in your flour blend; it’s in the Bob’s 1-to-1)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup safflower or canola oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In large bowl, combine gluten-free flour, baking powder, xanthan gum (if using) and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
- In mixer, beat eggs on high for 1 minute until thick. Add sugar and beat for 1 more minute.
- Add oil, orange juice, zest and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
- Add flour combination slowly to mixture. Mix until well combined and dough begins to gather together (dough will not be stiff enough to form a ball).
- Remove dough from bowl, wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate overnight. Dough can be stored in refrigerator for several days before baking.
- When you’re ready to bake the hamantaschen, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Work with a quarter of the dough at a time, leaving the remainder refrigerated until needed, so it doesn’t get too soft or sticky. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough between two pieces of waxed paper to about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness. If dough is sticky, sprinkle some gluten-free flour on the work surface and knead it into the dough.
- Using a wide juice glass (or biscuit cutter), press the top of the glass into the dough to cut out 3-inch circles of dough. Gather scraps and reroll for more circles. With a spatula, move dough circles to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Put approximately 1 teaspoon of filling (see options below) in the center of each circle. Fold up the sides of the circle to form a triangle (symbolic of Haman’s three-cornered hat). Leave an opening at center of the triangle to let the filling peek through. Pinch edges together to prevent filling from leaking out.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Let cool slightly before transferring to cooling rack.
Yield: About 18 to 24 hamantaschen
Use your choice of fillings for the hamantaschen. Anything goes, with one caution: liquidy cherry pie filling makes hamantaschen mushy. Options include:
- Apricot preserves
- Raspberry or strawberry preserves
- Prune butter (lekvar), mixed with chopped prunes and walnuts
- Poppy seed filling (canned)
- Chocolate chips, M&Ms or Nutella