Archive | March, 2016

Hamentaschen

8 Mar

HamentaschenI just bought a can of Solo pie filling for my annual hamentasch bake. With Purim coming up in just a few weeks, I thought I’d rerun my recipe for hamentaschen, which I offered you three years ago. It’s a winner! The dough is sweet but not too sweet, and you can roll it out thin.

The Jewish festival of Purim commemorates the events told in the Book of Esther. The three-cornered shape is supposed to represent Haman’s hat, though the word means “Haman’s pockets” in Yiddish.

My mother wasn’t much of a cook, but she baked these hamentaschen every year. She got the recipe from our neighbor in Northeast Philadelphia, Ida Silver. In 2007, I read a Hadassah magazine article by Judy Davis, Ida’s oldest child, called “My Mother’s Hamentaschen.” But the recipe in the magazine was not my mother’s recipe!

I hadn’t seen Judy in at least 40 years but I tracked her down and emailed her. In her response she admitted it the recipe not her mother’s, which she either never had or lost. “But I would love to see my mother’s recipe if you would be willing to email it to me,” she wrote. “I must have had a copy at some time, though I have no memory of it….I love the idea of your mother having used her recipe (it means my mother must have shared some of them with her), and I love that it is being handed down to the next generation.”

I think my daughter has begun making these as well, with help from her daughter, continuing the tradition.

Pinching hamentaschen into a three-cornered shape

Pinch the hamentaschen into a three-cornered shape

Like my mother, I don’t use a board to roll out the dough. I cover the kitchen table with an old sheet and work some flour into it and use that as my workspace.

The recipe can easily be doubled.

Ingredients:

2½ cups flour
2½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
⅓ cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup honey
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 eggs
1 can Solo fruit or poppy pastry filling

Directions:

Sift dry ingredients together. Cream shortening and sugar. Add honey and lemon juice and mix well. Add part of flour, then eggs, then rest of flour. Dough should be soft enough to form a ball but not stickyDirections:

Preheeat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out on a floured board, cut out rounds using a cookie cutter or glass (dip edge into flour). Place a half-teaspoon of filling in the center of each piece, then pinch into a three-cornered shape. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies

 

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Gila’s Chocolate Cake

1 Mar

 

Gila's chocolate cakeParve or dairy

I got the recipe for this cake, which could be nicknamed “death by chocolate,” from Gila Semp. It’s very rich and moist, and it’s easy to make, especially with a stand mixer. And even though it’s based on boxed mixes, it tastes homemade.

Full disclosure: I made this cake for guests last weekend, but I neglected to take a photo! This one is by Emily Hill, via Flickr Creative Commons — and I like her addition of shredded coconut and sliced chopped nuts on top, though because this cake is so rich I often make it without the chocolate glaze, and just sprinkle with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Ingredients:

1 box devil’s food or chocolate fudge cake mix
5 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup water
1 package instant chocolate pudding mix (most are dairy, but you can find parve mixes in kosher food stores)
1 package (12 oz.) chocolate chips
1 package (6 oz.) chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, water and pudding mix together with an electric mixer.

Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bundt pan.

Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Optional glaze:

Combine a 6-oz. package of chocolate chips with ¼ cup of boiling water. Stir to combine.

Add a little more boiling water if the glaze seems too thick. Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake.

Serves 12 or more