4 oz. unsalted butter, room temperature
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
egg wash made from 1 egg yolk combined with 3 tablespoons milk or cream
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and poppy seeds. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar until smooth, then add cream cheese, blending well. With mixer on low add vanilla, flour mixture and lemon zest. Dough will be soft, do not overmix. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, sealing well. Place in refrigerator at least one hour, preferably overnight.
Lemon Curd (a medley of recipes from Tabora, Stella Notte and A Slice of Heaven)
(makes 2 generous cups; refrigerated lasts 5 days.)
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
7 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 ounces, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the sugar, lemon juice and egg yolks. Set over simmering water, whisking occasionally until the mixture becomes thick. It should register about 172 degrees on a candy thermometer when it’s ready. Remove from the heat and strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl. Add the lemon zest and let the curd cool down for about fifteen minutes. Add the butter pieces to the curd, a few at a time, whisking to incorporate. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled.
To assemble the Hamantaschen:
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Turn dough out onto a sheet of lightly floured parchment paper. Roll out to a little less than ⅛” thick. (If the dough is too thick, it does not bake thoroughly and loses some of its flakiness.) For traditional Hamantaschen, cut out 3½” circles. I like to use a 7½” tart pan as a guide and cut out large circles. Brush the outer edge of the circles with a bit of egg wash- this will help the triangles hold their shape. For the 3½” circles, place a teaspoonful of cold lemon curd in the center of each circle; for the 7½” circles, place about 3 tablespoons of lemon curd in the center and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly. It’s tempting to overfill these, but that will only cause them to lose their shape in the oven. Fold the pastry over the filling, starting with the left side, then the right, then tucking in the bottom lip to seal the pastry. Brush the edges only (not the centers) with egg wash and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Return the filled Hamantaschen to the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before baking. If you skip this step, the pastries will open in the oven resembling sad circles instead of triangles. For the 7½” Hamantaschen, bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 10 minutes then rotate the tray and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the curd is set. For the 3½” pastries, bake on the bottom rack of the oven for a total of 12-15 minutes until the pastry is golden and the curd is set. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. When completely cool, drizzle with Lemon Glaze.
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, strained
¾ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and powdered sugar then add zest. Use a fork or a pastry bag to drizzle the cooled Hamantaschen with glaze.