These apple pie hamantaschen were not supposed to happen. I planned to bring nutella hamantaschen to my friends (Carole and Mark) for dinner tomorrow, Purim. But then I saw a couple of apples in my fruit bin. Before I knew it, another batch of dough was in the food processor and I was on my way to a new version of this delectable Purim treat.
If you’re not familiar with hamantaschen, consider them basically open-faced hand pies, or plain cookies that envelope a tasty filling. Shaped like a three-corner hat, they cook in about 22 minutes and freeze well.
I use a butter and sour cream dough – see the apricot hamantaschen from last week or my earlier nutella hamantaschen. If you prefer a non-dairy (pareve) dough, consider the one my friend Anshie used in her fabulous lemon hamantaschen. Obviously to make that one dairy-free chose water, rather than milk, as the liquid.
And while you shouldn’t say you heard it from me, when you’re in a rush, a decent commercial pie dough works too. (I mean the kind you find rolled up in a long thin box in the refrigerator section of the grocery.) Or better yet, use a refrigerated cookie dough, rolled out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
The filling for these apple pie hamantaschen comes together in minutes. I like using more than one variety of apples because I think it provides a depth of flavor that you just can’t get with a single type of apple. Yellow and red delicious work well (I use red delicious in my apple cake), as do many other varieties. I happened to grab a Gala apple this time; Granny Smiths are a good choice too. In fact, almost any variety is good, as long as the apples are tasty and hold their shape reasonably well. (The one variety I would stay away from is Macintosh: they disintegrate quickly and don’t have much taste.) I’ve added cinnamon and nutmeg, but feel free to get wilder – ginger anyone?
The filling starts out as a lot – 4 cups of chopped apple – but by the time it cooks for 10 minutes, you’ll have barely 2 cups.
Here’s the method for making a 3 1/2 inch round into a three-cornered hat.
Baking the apple pie hamantaschen on a parchment-lined baking sheet with another baking sheet underneath (doubled pans, as for rugelach) means that the tops get golden and the bottoms do not get too dark.
I could have eaten half the batch as they came out of the oven, but I satisfied myself with one and simply breathed in the incredible aroma. Apple pie should be a perfume, as well as a pastry.
Apple Pie Hamantaschen
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 pinches salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 stick unsalted butter chilled and cut into 8-10 chunks, 8 tablespoons
- 1/2 cup sugar I use half white and half raw/Turbinado
- 4 cups chopped apples - about 3-4 medium apples 1/2-1 inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1-2 pinches fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons apple juice cider or water
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 egg beaten with 1-2 teaspoons of water
- cinnamon and sugar optional
Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together and set aside.
Mix the egg, vanilla, and sour cream and set aside.
Process the sugar for 1 minute in a food processor to make it superfine.
Add the butter to the sugar and process until the mixture is sandy in texture. Add the dry ingredients and process again until the mixture forms crumbs. Add the liquids and pulse about 10 times, just until everything is combined.
Spoon the dough into a plastic food storage bag. Knead the dough inside the bag, take it out in a log and divide into 2 pieces. Loosely wrap them, form the pieces into disks and refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix all the ingredients for the filling. Put them into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook them a low-medium simmer for 10 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally, especially toward the end, so that the apples don't stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Remove the apples from the heat and cool them down before filling the hamantaschen.
Forming the Hamantaschen
Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured mat, board, or counter, roll the disk into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Cut 3 1/2 inch rounds as close together as possible, and place them on parchment or silicone mat-lined cookie sheets.
Gather up dough scraps and re-roll them - making about 12 circles from each dough disk.
Lightly brush the egg yolk around the edges of each circle, add about 1 tablespoon of apple pie filling to the center of the circle, and fold it in a three-cornered hat shape. (Pull together two sides of the circle and pull up the third.) Pinch each corner to seal it tightly and lightly brush the outside with more egg wash. Sprinkle the outside with cinnamon and sugar before baking (optional.)
Bake one sheet of apple pie hamantaschen at a time, each for about 20-24 minutes, turning it halfway through until the corners are lightly brown. If you have 2 baking sheets, double them up, with one underneath the lined one to prevent the bottoms of the hamantaschen from burning.
When the hamantaschen are done, cool them on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.
Store in a tightly closed container or freeze the hamantaschen.
If you have time, refrigerate the filling to thoroughly chill it, or remove it to a bowl with a pan of ice water underneath, stirring to release the heat.