Apple Pie and Salted Caramel Hamantashen

It’s that time of year again! That time when kids set off fireworks non-stop, that time when every girl is a princess and every boy is a ninja, that time when something cool and awesome better make its way to me wrapped up in a bow. That’s right! It’s my birthday! Oh yeah, and Purim, that too. I guess that’s what everyone else is celebrating. Me? I have my priorities.

The cast of characters.
The cast of characters.

It’s the time of year when we can get most creative with our religious food – hamantashen for the masses y’all! In previous years I have made lemon meringue hamantashen which were a big hit. I have also made your run of the mill jam-filled hamantashen – Rocker Dude will not have Purim without them. And last year I tried a brownie-speculoos version – needed work so when I have it down I will post it here. But this year we are doing something a little different. We are combining two of my favorite foods – apple pie and hamantashen.

The process.
The process.

At first it may seem like an obvious pairing, delicious fillings in dough always are, and yet, it’s not too common. And just to dress it up, caramel shards on top.

Apple Pie and Salted Caramel Hamantashen
Apple Pie and Salted Caramel Hamantashen

I am always looking for something different to do with my hamantashen and while I know that tradition has its place, so does deliciousness. So let the baking begin! (Pesach is in a little over a month and here I am bulk buying flour for Purim – #ridiculoustiming – but there you have it. We have to have cinnamon rolls for mishloach manot!)

Nom nom nom nom.
Nom nom nom nom.

For the first time ever, we decided (read: I agreed) to dress up for Purim as a family, with themed costumes and everything. But not for us some Disney Princess with the rest of us as supporting characters, no, we do it properly. Superheroes all the way. The Little Rocker will be defending the city as Batgirl, with Squeaker as her loyal sidekick Robin from Rocker Dude and I as The Joker and Harley Quinn. It took a bit of planning but we got the costumes together and we are all set. I don’t know if we will do this every year, but it is fun to do once in a while. Also as Purim falls out on my birthday this year, we have to do something special. (Pictures to come soon!)

Recipe:

Cookie:
I used a double batch of this recipe from our sugar cookie adventures in December

Filling (based on this recipe from King Arthur):
3 cups peeled, cored, finely chopped apples – I prefer Gala, Pink Crispy or Pink Lady
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate

Caramel Shards (based on this recipe from Epicurious):
1 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Make your filling first. You can make it a few days in advance and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to make your cookies. Mix all of the ingredients and stir until the filling begins to bubble and thickens considerably. You want to make sure that the filling bubbles so that you don’t taste the flour afterwards. Continue cooking until the apples reach your desired tenderness. It’s nice to have a little crunch still in the apples for texture. Set aside and cool. You can refrigerate for up to four days.

Follow the directions to make the sugar cookie dough until the refrigeration stage. You can keep the dough for a week in the fridge and for two months in the freezer.

When you are ready to make your cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and roll out the cookie dough to a 1/8 inch thickness. Using a drinking glass or a circle cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as you can. Place 1 tsp. of filling in the center of each one. Pinch each side together to make a triangle. (See here for instructions). Place cookies two inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are very lightly browned. Let cool.

To make the caramel shards, lightly oil a 12-inch square of foil. In a heavy saucepan boil sugar, water and salt over moderate heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Boil syrup without stirring, washing down sugar crystals on side of pan with a brush dipped in cold water, until pale golden. Continue cooking syrup without stirring, swirling pan, until deep golden. Immediately pour caramel onto foil and cool completely, about 20 minutes. Break caramel into shards. Place a few small pieces into the center of the cooled hamantashen. Serve immediately or soon after. (Shards keep, layered between sheets of wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day.)

These are best served slightly warm – like real apple pie, but are also good at room temperature.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

 

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Tuesdays with Dorie: Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

This is so exciting, I’m making ice cream.  Or rather, I should say, I made ice cream.  All by myself.  No machines involved.  Mmmmm.  This week’s recipe was chosen by Becky of Project Domestication.  She chose Burnt Sugar Ice Cream, or basically, caramel ice cream.  I have been dreaming about making my own ice cream.  I want to be able to justify getting an ice cream maker.  Also, I think that there aren’t enough flavors of ice cream in Israel and we need more.  I mean, come on, they don’t even have mint chocolate chip and cookie dough (I know all you people are going to tell me that Ben and Jerry’s has both flavors, but they sell them in pint size containers and are very expensive – also, they just don’t taste that good.)

I have been waiting for this week’s recipe ever since I knew that someone picked it.  I was a little worried about the churning, but a friend of mine, Leah of Leahsleavenedbreads made vanilla ice cream by hand a few months ago, using David Lebovitz’s method and it came out wonderfully.  I followed her example and made sure to whisk the custard every 45 minutes without fail.

The cream and milk mixed with the caramel.

After giving the Little Rocker dinner of an avocado and cream cheese sandwich with nectarine slices for dessert (it’s already pretty hot here and she enjoys cool foods more), I set about making the caramel.  The whole process is pretty simple, make a basic caramel (boiling sugar until it turns brown – or I guess- burns), and then adding the milk and cream.  When I added the liquids, the caramel completely seized, but I just kept stirring and as everything warmed up again, the caramel loosened and mixed with everything else.  The only other ingredients were egg yolks (I have plans for those whites) and vanilla.  It is so simple and then I let it cool and began the freezing process.

Egg yolks

Once it was in the freezer, I whisked it every forty-five minutes, as directed.  Slowly I saw the mixture firm up as it cooled.  Unfortunately, at about 11:15 I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore and I had to go to sleep.  My ice cream was nowhere near “creaming” yet, but what could I do?  So I went to sleep.

The Little Rocker helps out

I happened to wake up at 2:30 in the morning (maybe the ice cream gods were calling me) and I figured that if I was already awake, I might as well check on my ice cream.  It was frozen solid.  I tried a bite – soooo good, but I could taste the frozen structure (if that makes sense – it wasn’t creamy enough).  So when I woke up at 6:00, I took the bowl out the freezer and let it defrost as I got dressed and got the Little Rocker dressed.  After she settled with her eggy toast, I mixed up the now softened ice cream and broke up all the ice crystals and made it nice and creamy and soft.  I then put it into a container and returned it to the freezer to firm up.  Sundaes anyone?

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

The verdict from Rocker Dude? “Appreciated.”  Oh yeah.

For the full recipe, visit Becky’s site here and see what other TWD bakers did here.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Dulce de Leche Duos

Dulce de Leche, yum, and already made – yummier.  I was not sure if I was going to make these cookies (remember my diet?  I like to think about it too), and also, I rarely bake dairy a. because my husband is lactose intolerant and b. because all of my equipment is meat or pareve – meaning that it cannot touch milk or dairy products.  But then I said that if I am not going to be participating for the next two weeks because of Passover when we can’t eat flour or anything made with it, I should really do this week’s recipe.  So I sent out Rocker Dude to see if he could find ready-made dulce de leche.  Thankfully, he found it easily and bought a jar.  So on Tuesday night while he was in Jerusalem doing his radio show (rock4rookies.com – I am a good wife), I decided to make the cookies, this way, there would be a nice treat waiting for him when he got home (I AM a good wife!)

So I creamed the margarine by hand (I’m not sure why I used margarine for these cookies when I was making them dairy anyway, but I guess it’s because that’s what was in the house – old habits die hard).  And then added the caramel.  Once I got the eggs in there it was a lot easier to mix.

I baked the cookies in my trusty dusty toaster oven, and because the pan that fits in does not have a flat bottom, the cookies did not come out perfectly round.  But they came out super chewy (yum!) and when they cooled I spread a thin layer of caramel on the bottom of one cookie and topped it with another cookie.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like these cookies, because I don’t like caramel in large quantities, one bite is enough and then I get sick of the taste.  But in these cookies, the caramel taste is subtle and only adds to the cookie taste.  I had great intentions of bringing these cookies into work so that they would not be lying around the house, but then I realized that after making the sandwiches, that there were only about 18 cookies, not enough to bring to work, so they stayed home.  S. enjoyed them a lot as you can see (she is concentrating on doing her very first puzzle!).

I enjoyed them too, and Rocker Dude gave them the ultimate compliment, “they are so soft.”  Apparently (and this has taken me 4 years to figure out) he likes chewy cookies.  To be honest so do I, but I guess he just never mentioned it before.  Thanks Dorie!

For the recipe check out Jodie’s blog Beansy Loves Cake and check out what other TWD bakers did here.