Continuing on with the Purim theme I feel the need to introduce those of you not familiar with the treat that fills my local bakeries and coffee shops at this time of year; Oznei Haman or Hamantaschen. Hamantaschen is Yiddish for Haman’s pockets and Oznei Haman in Hebrew literally translated means Haman’s ears. Google it and there are a number of explanations as to why these delish biscuits are called this, none of which is the one I heard first and has stuck in my head – Haman (the baddy in yesterday’s story) was punished for his treachery towards the Jews by being hung from a tree by his ears. This explanation doesn’t actually explain why the biscuits have 3 corners (maybe he had 3 ears?) and so obviously I heard it from someone even less informed than myself. The real reason is either to do with the 3 cornered hat he wore, the 3 corners representing the 3 founders of Judaism, or more gruesomely because the tradition at the time was to chop off one’s ears before hanging (still not sure why 3). Nice.
So to the biscuits. Husband is a pastry chef and a pretty good one at that, so he is a reliable source for a recipe. This morning he duly trooped number 1 son and his baking equipment to the nursery to demonstrate the making of said biscuits. Poor man has had some worries about the demo, not least because there are 35 4 year olds in the nursery but also because there were nut allergies, milk allergies, gluten allergies a-plenty and he was convinced just a sniff of flour, butter or milk could have disastrous consequences. Once the recipe had been altered to cater for all, he reported that it was a great success with no. 1 son on a high (not from the sugar but from the kudos of having his Dad at the nursery), and all the kids joining in with no casualties. Judging by the state of his chef’s clothes it was a pretty messy affair.
I am assured they are pretty easy to make (so kid friendly) although I cannot attest to this – why bake when your husband’s a pastry chef? – what I can 100% verify is that they are yummy and once you start munching it’s difficult to stop – but you should because they are chock full of all the stuff that’s bad for you. Here is the recipe (the original), courtesy of husband.
Award winning Oznei Haman:For the biscuit (makes 25):-
- 500g plain white flour
- 100g ground almonds
- 180g icing sugar
- 350g butter
- 2 medium eggs (120 grams)
Preparing the dough:-
Blend the dry ingredients in a mixer and add the cold butter gradually until mixture has a sandy texture. Add the eggs and blend until a dough begins to form. Take the dough and wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Traditional poppy seed filling:-
- 200g of ground poppy seeds
- 180ml milk
- 125ml cream
- 200g sugar
Preparing poppy seed filling:- Bring milk cream and sugar to the boil, add poppy seeds and re-boil, simmer until poppy seeds are completely soft. Cool thoroughly before putting on dough.
Chocolate cream filling:-
- 420ml milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 125g sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 60g cornflour
- 35g butter
- 250g bitter chocolate
Preparing choc cream filling:- Bring vanilla extract, half the milk and sugar to boil and aset aside, whisk egg yolks with other half of sugar till pale, seive in cornflour and whisk, add hot liquid to eggs gradually until 1/3 liquid is in egg mixture, pour all mixture back into pan and heat whisking all the time until it comes to boil (like custard). Take off heat, add butter and whisk. Pour into bowl with chocolate in it, whisk choc into custard. Cool with cling film on the top. This mixture can be kept up to 3 days.
Assembling the biscuits:- Roll out refrigerated dough and cut out circles of about 7 cms in diameter. Add 2 teaspoons of the filling of choice and fold over the outside edges of the circle to form a triangle pocket, squeezing the three corners of dough to hold the shape. You should be able to see a little of the filling in the centre of the triangle (see picture).
For best results refrigerate the unbaked biscuits for 2 – 3 hours before baking for 12 – 15 minutes in 170 deg oven until golden brown.