The Brooklyn neighborhood I grew up in was an almost even mix of Jewish and Italian.
There was no lack of Italian restaurants, pizzerias and bakeries either – so my love of Italian cuisine was honed at a very early age. And if I had to pick my favorite Italian pastry, it would be no contest – I am #teamcannoli all the way.
Something about that sweet, creamy filling, rich chocolate chips and crunchy shell has always been the trifecta of what a dessert should be. So why not put that delicious filling into an iconic Jewish pastry–hamantaschen!
As it turns out, this is a pretty amazing mash-up–and one I’m sure will bring smiles to your friends and family this coming Purim.
If you’ve struggled with making hamantaschen in the past, I’m sharing all of my tried-and-true tips, gathered over years of trial and error.
¼ cup ricotta cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup mini chocolate chips
1 stick (4 ounces or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for sealing the hamantaschen
½ cup chocolate chips, for drizzling
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Make the cannoli filling: In the bowl of a mixer, beat all ingredients except the chocolate chips till light and fluffy. Fold in the chocolate chips and refrigerate, covered, till needed.
Then, make the dough: Beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar till light and fluffy; scrape down the sides. Add the milk and vanilla and beat till incorporated. Scrape down the sides. Add the flour and salt and beat again. Divide the dough into two pieces and place each between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll each to a ¼” thickness, stack the doughs on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least one hour (or up to three days).
Pre-heat oven to 375.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one dough at a time, place on your prepared baking sheet and cut out circles using a drinking glass or cookie cutter (I used a 2 1/2” cutter). Gather trimmings, re-roll and cut.
Brush the edges of the circles with a bit of the beaten egg white and place ½ teaspoon of cannoli filling in the center. Fold the dough into a triangle shape and pinch the corners and edges firmly together. Brush the dough with some more of the egg white.
Bake hamantaschen till golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When cooled, place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Last, melt the ½ cup of chocolate chips in the top half of a double boiler set over barely simmering water. Cool slightly and transfer to a disposable pastry or ziploc bag. Snip a small opening in the corner and drizzle the chocolate over the hamantaschen. Refrigerate till set. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
Pronounced: PUR-im, the Feast of Lots, Origin: Hebrew, a joyous holiday that recounts the saving of the Jews from a threatened massacre during the Persian period.