So this is it– the culmination of 10 days and LOTS and LOTS of hamantashen. I didn’t think I’d get to this point, but… (spoken in a hushed tone) I might actually be hamantashen-ed out! I’m so glad I saved these Pistachio Nutella Halva Hamantashen for last– I’m kind of in love with them. They didn’t turn out exactly how I’d imagined in my heart of hearts, but still so lovely. In my wishful triangular cookie fantasies, I was hoping to make jumbo hamantashen for sharing, which I did, but I imagined that the dough would hold its shape a little better. But honestly I’m nitpicking now, and I’m thrilled with these!
As always, I used Uri Scheft’s indispensable almond shortbread dough from Breaking Breads, with the addition of Italian pistachios. For the filling, I dolloped some Nutella in the center of each dough circle, then sprinkled chopped halva and pistachios on top before folding them up. When I began with my idea of making the jumbo-sized triangles, I shaped the dough without filling it, hoping that I could bake the empty shells and fill them afterwards because I thought the filling texture would be better that way. But this was a massive failure, as they did not remotely keep their shape in the oven, even when I stuffed crumpled parchment paper in the empty cavities. For the second batch of large ones, which I’d already shaped, I clumsily filled them after the fact, then chilled and baked them. This worked fine, but my instructions below simply say to fill the large hamantashen in the same way as regular small ones; that is, put the filling in the center of the circles, then fold up the dough edges around the filling and pinch in three points to form the corners.
I still can’t believe how many hamantashen I made this week– maybe about 400?? I’m not sure I’ll do that again, but I’m super excited to have a deep repertoire of flavors… plus a few that I’ll be working on for next year! I realized that I made exactly zero hamantashen with fruit filling– sacrilege! I promise next year there will be. In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed these recipes and find them helpful in mixing up your traditional hamantashen varieties. Until next Purim! 🙂
Pistachio Nutella Halva Hamantashen
Yields 60-80 small hamantashen or 6-8 large sharable cookies
I strongly recommend using weight rather than volume to measure ingredients, as the original recipe favors weight. This is a doubled dough recipe, and the discrepancy between the weight and volume as written for the dough is pretty big, so I adjusted it here. (For example, the recipe for a doubled batch would call for 6¼ cups flour, but 800 grams is more like 6⅔, so that’s what I wrote.)
If you plan to make regular-sized hamantashen, you can cut the quantities in half like the original dough recipe.
For the pistachio-almond shortbread (adapted from Breaking Breads by Uri Scheft):
- 100 grams (1 cup) chopped pistachios
- 800 grams (6⅔ cups) all-purpose flour
- 100 grams (1 cup) blanched almond flour
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt (or 2 teaspoons fine sea salt)
- 450 grams (32 tablespoons/4 sticks/2 cups) cold unsalted butter
- 200 grams (scant 2 cups) confectioners’ sugar
- 100 grams (½ cup) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
For the filling:
- 640 grams (2 cups) chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
- 50 grams (½ cup) halva, roughly chopped
- 25 grams (¼ cup) finely chopped pistachios
To make the pistachio shortbread dough:
Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
Using a small food processor or a mallet, crush the pistachios down almost to dust– keep a bit of texture from some bigger pieces. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, almond flour, ground pistachios, and salt in a bowl and keep it nearby.
Lay a piece of parchment paper on your work surface and place 1 stick of butter on top. Smash the butter with a rolling pin several times to soften it, then transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Pounding the butter keeps it cold, but softens the texture.) Repeat with the remaining sticks of butter.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and granulated sugar to the bowl. Mix on low just until the loose sugar is incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and the beater, and mix again for about 30 seconds on medium-low speed. You want the butter to still be cold, and you’re mixing minimally here to avoid aerating the butter.
Pour in the beaten eggs and paddle on low speed until the mixture looks like wet scrambled eggs– the butter chunks should all be coated in egg liberally.
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl gradually and mix on low speed until most of the flour has been incorporated; it’s helpful to stop and scrape down the bowl and beater midway through.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and finish bringing it together by hand or with a flexible bench scraper. Roll it out to about ½” thick and transfer it to the prepared sheet pan. (It will not fill the pan.) Cover it tightly with a piece of plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (or until firm), or overnight.
To assemble & bake the hamantaschen:
When you’re ready to roll and cut the dough, preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center position. Line two rimless cookie sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and let it soften for 5-10 minutes.
Lop off about ¼ of the dough and place it on a lightly floured work surface. If making jumbo hamantashen, roll the dough out to a little thicker than ¼”, flouring and moving the dough around as needed to avoid sticking to the work surface and rolling pin. If making regular-sized one, roll it out about ⅛” (bit thicker is okay).
For the larger sizes, use a cake ring or flip over a cake pan and press it into the dough to cut out a large circle. (I used 6″ and 8″ sizes to play around.) Dollop about 2 tablespoons Nutella in the center, spreading it out a bit and mounding it higher in the middle. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon chopped halva and 1 teaspoon chopped pistachios over the Nutella.
For small ones, cut out circles with a 3″ round cutter and transfer them to the prepared cookie sheet. Try to cut them out as closely as possible to avoid having a lot of scraps. Dollop about 1 – 1½ teaspoons Nutella in the center of each circle; I use a spring-loaded melon-baller for somewhat uniform portions. Sprinkle a couple pinches of halva and pistachios on top.
Regardless of the size, re-roll the scraps and repeat until you’ve filled the cookie sheets. If the dough has warmed up and softened too much to work with it, place it in the freezer for a couple of minutes to chill.
To create the hamantaschen triangle shape, use your fingers to curve up the edges of each circle to meet at three points. Gently press the corners together to seal the edges and coax the dough into an equal triangle. Carefully place the triangles on the prepared baking sheet. Put the pan in the freezer for 20-30 minutes, or until nearly solid (not frozen).
Bake jumbo hamantashen for 25-30 minutes depending on the size, rotating the pan 180° after 15 minutes. The corners will darken first; cover the hamantashen loosely with a piece of aluminum foil if they are browning too quickly. Gently slide a flat spatula underneath to check that the bottoms are golden brown and remove from the oven to a wire cooling rack. Bake small hamantashen for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 6-8 minutes until the dough corners are lightly golden. Set the pan on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days or so.
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2020.