Putting the final touches on your Passover seder menu? Don’t forget one of the most important, and easiest, dishes: the haroset.
Haroset symbolizes the mortar used by the slaves in Egypt, and so it’s not only a tasty part of the seder, it’s a pretty important part of the Passover story as well.
There are dozens of ways to make haroset, and different Jewish communities from around the world all have their own version. But today we are going to focus on one of the most popular ways that North American Jews enjoy haroset, and that is the apple, walnut, cinnamon and sweet wine version that many of us know from our childhood and beyond.
After spending time with my own 90 year old grandmother and talking haroset, I learned she never even made hers: her dear friend Clare, of blessed memory, used to make a large enough batch for both families. (Note: Clare was a much better cook than my grandmother. So, thanks Clare.)
How to Make Simple, Delicious Ashkenazi Haroset
We based our version on this classic recipe from Claudia Roden. But here is another version I like to make with candied walnuts, pomegranate juice and pomegranate seeds.
Now it’s all here in one video, in one post–from A-Z, from Ahasuerus to Zeresh–how do you make those perfect hamantaschen? Here you have it, in short little videos with my own two hands and messy kitchen.
This little guide is geared toward avoiding the worst pre-Purim fate: making beautiful, delicious-looking hamantaschen and then opening up the oven only to find they have exploded all over the place.
With these few easy steps, we think all bakers can avoid the curse of the leaky hamantaschen.
Find our classic hamantaschen dough recipe below, and tons of variations here.
And without further ado, here is a 1-minute video that combines all the steps (including a surreptitious Nutella-lick) into a quick jaunty watch:
Now let’s take that one step at a time:
Step 1: Make the dough and chill it for at least an hour.
Step 2: Roll it out your chilled dough to 1/4-1/2 inch thick:
Step 3: Cut out your cookies using a regular old drinking glass or 2.5 inch round cookie cutter.
Step 4: Place a scant 1/2 teaspoon of filling in each round, then fold the sides up pinching carefully along the edge and three corners.
Step 5: Place cookies in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before baking. This will help the cookies set and further ensure no leaking.
Bake, cool, and enjoy!
½ cup butter (or margarine)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp milk (or almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk, vanilla and orange zest until mixed thoroughly.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.
Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by 1/4 cup of flour at a time until firm.
Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Dust surface with powdered sugar or flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar or flour before each cut.
Fill hamantaschen with scant 1/2 tsp of filling in each.
Carefully fold in the edges to form a triangular shape, and pinch the corners and edges tightly to seal.
Bake at 400° for about 7-9 minutes.
After my first day in culinary school I came home with an armload–two white chef’s coats, two pairs of houndstooth pants, three starched aprons, six towels, a plastic name tag, and a bag of knives. And of all of the things people have asked me about since that day, the question I get the most is–what kind of knives should I buy?
Fortunately for the inquiring minds of my life and now for all of the Noshers out there, knife construction and handling was the first thing on the syllabus after orientation.
1. Material: Most knives are made of one of three types of metal–carbon, high carbon steel, and stainless steel. If you’re looking for a cheap knife that makes clean cuts, go with carbon. But while it is inexpensive and easy to sharpen, it’s not great for humid climates or acidic foods since it discolors easily and it does not hold an edge (i.e. doesn’t stay sharp). Unlike carbon knives, high carbon steel does not corrode, does hold an edge, and looks pretty, but is definitely more expensive and a bit trickier to keep sharp. Stainless steel knives have very strong blades that resist abrasion and discoloration, they’re cheap, and attractive, but it is hard to maintain an edge and the blade rips through food instead of slicing. Stainless steel is usually used for serrated knives since they don’t require the same kind of care.
2. Design: There are two key visual components to look at when choosing a knife–the tang and the rivets. The tang is the metal part that runs from the blade through the handle. The best quality knives are going to have a full tang, meaning it is one solid piece of metal. The number of rivets holding the tang and handle together are also a way to measure quality, with three rivets being the best.
3. Gut: I’m referring to your gut here, not the knife’s. Ultimately, it’s your knife so you need to be comfortable with how it feels in your hand. I like my knives to feel solid and weighty, but not leaden. A friend of mine recently bought a set of knives that, while highly functional, just feel all wrong to me because of their weight (although they are great if you want an easy way to keep them separated for meat, dairy, and pareve jobs). Also, think about how many knives you actually need. Yes, uniform knives in wooden knife blocks look lovely on your countertop, but in reality a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife are sufficient for pretty much any job. (Side note, if you’re looking for a way to store your miscellaneous collection of knives, I use this bamboo knife dock that fits into one of the awkward drawers in my kitchen and keeps my knives organized and safe).