Cardamom Scented Hamantaschen with Pear & Goat Cheese Filling

By Pessy Haskelevich, writer for Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

For a pareve version, simply replace the butter with canola oil and omit the goat cheese. Prep Time: 40 minutes; Servings: 2 dozen

Ingredients:

For the Pastry:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter, or 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons cardamom or hawayij
  • Pinch of salt

For the filling:

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  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 lb firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4 inch diced pieces
  • 3/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 8 oz soft goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

Preparing the pastry:

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

3. Divide the dough in half and chill in plastic wrap for half an hour.

Preparing the filling:

1. Combine the water and sugar in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat until sugar has dissolved.

2. Add the lemon juice, ginger and pears and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until pears are tender. Set aside to cool.

To assemble and bake:

1. On a generously floured surface, preferably on baking paper, roll out the dough to a quarter-inch thickness. Roll once, then pick up the flattened dough and turn it 90 degrees. Sprinkle with more flour if necessary and roll it out again. Repeat until dough is of sufficient thickness (This procedure helps prevent the dough from sticking). Use a round cookie cutter or glass with a 2-3 inch diameter to cut out circles of dough.

2. Smear a very thin layer of apricot preserves in the center of each circle.

3. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon walnuts and a small piece of crumbled goat cheese.

4. Top with 1 teaspoon of pear jam.

5. Lift up the edges of the circle to form a triangle. Pinch the corners securely so that they don’t open in the oven.

6. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper and place the assembled hamantaschen on the cookie sheet. Chill the hamantaschen in the freezer for about half an hour.

7. Repeat with second half of dough.

8. Bake the hamantaschen in the oven at 375° F for 20-24 minutes or until golden. Cool on rack.