Crème Brûlée Hamantashen
These French-inspired hamantashen are really burnt caramel hamantashen. After several tries, I could not brûlé the filling without scorching the cookie. If filling the triangle with the caramel sauce is too much work for you, go ahead and serve the caramel as a dipping sauce. We dip sufganiyot into sauces and jams when we do not want to fill them, don’t we? Why not hamantashen? There I go, breaking the rules again.
- 4 large eggs
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- Scraped seeds of one vanilla bean
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pastry Cream Filling
- 1 cup milk or soymilk
- ½ vanilla bean, split and the seeds scraped, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
- ¼ cup heavy cream or soymilk
- In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla bean seeds and vanilla. Add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for one hour or overnight to firm up.
- To make the cream filling, in a heavy saucepan, bring the milk, scraped seeds and vanilla bean or vanilla extract, butter and 2 tablespoons of the sugar to boil over medium heat and stir. Meanwhile, use a whisk to beat the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in a medium bowl. Add the flour and whisk well. Strain half the milk mixture into the egg bowl and whisk. Strain the other half of the milk into the egg and mix well.
- Return mixture to the saucepan and cook on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, whisking often. You will need a silicone spatula to mix the cream in the corners of the pot into the center so it does not burn. Whisk well. The cream should bubble a bit and look like it is breathing.
- Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes and then cover with plastic and place in the refrigerator until chilled, one hour or overnight. This can be made 2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two or three large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, or plan to bake in batches. Divide the dough in half.
- Take another two pieces of parchment paper and sprinkle flour on one, place one dough half on top and then sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough. Place the second piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll on top of the parchment until the dough is about ¼-inch thick. Every few rolls, peel back the top parchment and sprinkle a little more flour on the dough. Once or twice flip over the packet and peel off the bottom parchment, add a little flour, recover with parchment and flip over again; this makes sure the dough is not sticking to the bottom parchment. Do not roll the dough too thin; they are better thicker rather than thinner.
- Use a 3-inch drinking glass or round cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. Use a metal flat-blade spatula to lift up the circle of dough and place it on another part of the flour-sprinkled parchment paper. Place about 1 heaping teaspoon of cream into the center of the dough circle and then fold the three sides in toward the middle to form a triangle, leaving an opening in the center. Pinch the three sides together very tightly. Place the triangle on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and roll and cut any dough scraps, making sure to sprinkle a little flour under and over the dough before you roll. Just before baking, pinch the corners again.
- Bake for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned, but the tops are still light. Slide the parchment paper onto wire racks to cool the cookies.
- When the cookies are all baked, prepare the caramel. Place the sugar and water into a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Leave alone without stirring until the edges start to color and then stir the sugar. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture is dark amber. Reduce heat to low and whisk in the butter and then add the cream. The mixture will bubble up so be careful. Continue whisking for another minute.
- Use a small ¼ or ½ teaspoon to pour the caramel into the opening of each cookie, without it dripping down the sides. Let set and then enjoy. If the caramel becomes too thick to pour, reheat briefly and stir.