Purim is a holiday of upside downs, masquerades, and the unexpected. On Purim we celebrate the success of Esther and Mordecai's subversion of evil Haman's plot to kill the Jews. The observance of Purim involves costumes, gifts to friends, donations to the poor, and festive meals. The most traditional Purim food--the hamantaschen--is typically a cookie filled with fruit preserves or poppy seeds. So as a celebration of surprise and new takes on old favorites, here is a recipe for savory hamantaschen.
These hamantaschen are like little savory tartlets, perfect as an appetizer at your festive Purim meal or for a snack just about any time.
Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and herbs. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender or two knives, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. Pour in 1/4 cup of water and mix until large clumps form (if you need it, you can slowly add the other 1/4 cup of water). Pat the clumps into two balls but be careful not to overwork the dough. Put the dough in the refrigerator and chill for one hour. Keep your flour on hand for the rolling out portion of the hamantaschen making. In the meantime, make the filling.
Make the filling: Melt butter or heat oil in a heavy skillet and cook the onion with the pinches of salt and sugar. Begin at medium high heat to get a bit of color, then lower the heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Once your onions are caramelized you can set them aside until your dough is ready. Once they come to room temperature, mix them with your egg and feta cheese and a bit of pepper. Set the filling aside.
Roll out one of the balls (if you're new to rolling out dough, keep in mind that you want everything to stay as cold as possible and that adding flour prevents your dough from sticking to surfaces…you can always brush off the extra). Press out rounds using cups with about a 3 inch diameter. Place a 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the center of each one, and then pinch up 3 points to make a triangle. Repeat with the other ball of dough. Arrange on your baking sheets and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the hamantaschen have a nice golden brown hue.
Notes: The dough recipe is a modified "pate brisee," the classic French pie crust. In my variation, I have used a little bit of whole wheat flour and added thyme, but you could just as easily do a full white flour version or substitute rosemary or another herb that you think will suit your hamentaschen. If you are new to pie crusts or just want brush up, follow these more detailed instructions. (For novices, I also recommend using all white flour as whole wheat can make the process more difficult.)
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