Southern & Jewish
Southern & Jewish celebrates the stories, people, and experiences – past and present – of Jewish life in the American South. Hosted by the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, posts come from educators, students, rabbis, parents, artists, and many other “visitors-to and daily-livers-of” the Southern Jewish experience. From road trips to recipes to reflections, we’ll explore a little bit of everything – well, at least all things Southern and/or Jewish. Shalom, y’all!
Someone remarked to me recently on the trend of savory hamantaschen.
“Aren’t cookies supposed to be sweet?” they quipped.
It made me think about the story of Purim… which is many things (dark, weirdly comic, terrifying, inspiring, complicated) but most definitely not “sweet.” So maybe the cookies representing the tale need not be sweet, either.
Which next made me think of the cookies themselves, which even when filled with apricots or Nutella are, y’know… supposed to represent our vanquished foe. Which is, well, weird. (At least “hamantaschen” – meaning “Haman’s pockets” – is a less upsetting moniker than the Hebrew oznei-Haman, or Haman’s ears. Ew.) My point is, that’s… not sweet.
Then I thought, too, of the strange times we’re living through, and how the silver lining or firm lesson some of us have experienced has been about savoring each moment. Maybe like sourdough or Wordle, savory hamantaschen have emerged from our past two years of reflection and re-thinking everything.
Any of those would be excellent reasons to explain an uptick in savory hamantaschen recipes.
But it could also just be because savory cookies are absolutely delicious.
So here’s my very contribution to the cultural phenomenon that is savory hamentaschen. Something simple, savory, and very, very southern: Pimento Cheese Hamantaschen.
For the dough:
2 large eggs
½ cup oil
½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
Note: If you want to make it even easier, you can use ready-made pie crust dough!
For the filling:
If you want to make your own pimento cheese, here’s a recipe.
I bought mine at the grocery store so can’t claim credit! Like I said, y’all. Savory and simple.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix together the wet ingredients: egg, oil, and optional liquid smoke. Add the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and stir until a smooth dough is formed. Roll out the dough to around ¼ inch thick. Cut circles using a cookie cutter or a glass cup. Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of the circles (or overstuff them like I did) and pinch closed to form a triangle (or something like a triangle). Place in the freezer for 5 minutes to set. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.