If you like fruit-filled cookies, you’re going to love these apricot hamantaschen. Crispy on the outside and soft and fruity on the inside, they are easy make and even easier to gobble up.
The three-cornered filled cookies known as hamantaschen are traditional for the Jewish holiday of Purim. The old school fillings are prune and poppy seed. I’m ok with those, but honestly, prefer something with a bit more pizzazz.
For chocolate lovers, my nutella hamantaschen and chocolate-date-pistachio fillings will satisfy that craving. But I have always yearned for a fruit filling with real fruit taste. In my experience, hamantaschen fruit centers are too often overly sweet and sticky. Using jam is easy, but frequently becomes stiff after baking. By contrast, the filling in these apricot hamantaschen is thick enough to stay in the center of the cookie, but soft when you bite into it.
Most apricot hamantaschen recipes use either jam or dried apricots, reconstituted and cooked for an extended period. This version uses canned apricots instead. They provide a real apricot taste without the fuss of the dried fruit. I prefer my fruit filling to taste as natural as possible, so I use just 1/4 cup of sugar to just over a pound of canned apricots. If you like yours sweeter, just add more sugar. Kiwi, with natural pectin, helps firm up the filling. It also adds a flavor that contrasts nicely with the apricots. I added crushed, slivered almonds just because. Leave them out if you prefer, or substitute another type of nuts.
Tips for Making Apricot Hamantaschen
- Dough – These apricot hamantaschen use the same cookie-like outside as my nutella hamantaschen. It contains dairy; if you want a pareve or dairy-free dough, here are two: from the Jewish Food Experience and the Reform Judaism site. It’s easy and quick to make the dough in a food processor. If you prefer to do by hand or with a mixer, those methods work well too for this dough.
- Timing -This is a great make-ahead recipe. Both the dough and the filling need to chill and can be refrigerated for a day or even longer, allowing you to prepare them on one day and put the hamantaschen together a day or two later. Apricot hamantaschen freeze well too, so you can make them on the weekend and pull them out to serve on a weeknight.
- Putting the hamataschen together – The dough must be cool to the touch at all times as you make the hamantaschen. If at any point, the dough gets too soft, refrigerate it, whether unfilled circles, filled but too soft to easily form into triangles, or formed and waiting to be baked. For set-by-step photos of the triangles in process, see the chocolate-date-pistachio version.
- Baking – The double pan method (baking the hamantaschen on one pan on top of a second one) helps keep the bottom of the cookies from becoming too dark. It’s a method that works well for many types of cookies and small pastries, including rugelach.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 pinches salt kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup sugar preferably superfine ( I prefer 1/4 white and 1/4 raw/Turbinado but all white sugar is fine too) - see note for processing "regular" sugars to superfine
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter chilled and cut into small chunks, (1 stick)
- 2 cans apricots in natural juice 2-15 ounce cans drained (about 18 ounces or 2 cups of apricots) and mashed or processed into a thick puree
- 1 kiwi peeled, quartered, white center removed, and mashed
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds optional (about 1 ounce)
- 1 large egg beaten
- Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together and set aside.
- Put the sugar in a food processor. Add the butter chunks, combining until they are well mixed, even if bits of butter remain visible.
- Add the flour mixture to the sugar and butter, processing until you get tiny pea-sized crumbs.
- Mix the egg, vanilla and sour cream. Pour that mixture into the crumbs and pulse about 10 times until the mixture is just barely combined.
- Move the mixture to a plastic food storage bag and knead it slightly (through the bag) until it comes together. Cut the dough in half, form each into a ball, press the balls into disks and wrap them in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the disks for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer.
- Put the apricot and kiwi puree and the sugar into a saucepan. (I puree the two fruits together in a food processor.) Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
- Once the filling has thickened slightly, let it cool on the counter, then refrigerate the filling until it is well chilled.
Forming the hamantaschen
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator. Roll the disk into a circle about 12-13" in diameter on a lightly floured mat, board or counter. (Dust more flour on the surface and the disk as needed to keep the disk from sticking.)
- Cut rounds with a cookie or muffin cutter or a glass, preferably about 3 1/2" in diameter, as close together as possible. Gather scraps and re-roll the extra dough until all of it is used up.
- Brush the outside of each circle with the beaten egg and place about 1 tablespoon of chilled apricot filling in the center. If using the almonds, crush a handful of the slivers and dot the tops of the filling with them.
- To form the triangle shape, pull together the sides of the circle and pinch them, forming a point at the top. Press it gently but firmly to seal the point and pull up the bottom to form two more points, one on each side. Press those two and brush the outside of the hamantaschen with beaten egg.
- Place the hamantaschen on a doubled parchment-lined baking sheet (i.e. one sheet on top of another) and bake for about 22 minutes, until the outside is lightly browned, turning the baking sheet halfway through baking.
- Cool the hamantaschen for a few minutes on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Repeat with the second dough disk and the rest of the filling.
To process granulated white sugar and raw sugar to superfine consistency, process them together for about 1 minute in a food processor.
For the filling, 1/4 cup of sugar will yield a fruity and not very sweet filling. If you prefer a sweeter taste, add up to another 1/4 cup of sugar - 1/2 cup total.
Bake one disk's worth of hamantaschen at a time. In the time listed at the top of the recipe for the "cook time", I have assumed that you do not have a double oven and therefore have to wait until the first batch is done before you can bake the second. If you have to re-use pans, make sure they are cool to the touch before putting the second batch on them. You can run them under cool water and dry them to cool them down quickly.