The flexible and strong dough for the traditional hamantasch cookie from Israel lends itself well to lots of delicious fillings. For my variation, I used the last few dried pears from my pantry and combined them with chopped walnuts and some zesty orange. The result is a fresh filling with a nice nutty crunch. I made little bow tie cookies with some filling peeping out in the middle. For this cookie you should roll out the pastry nice and thin. If you don’t, you will end up with a mouthful of pastry and miss out on the tasty combination with the filling. If you like a more classical shape, try this filling in a traditional hamantash.
Walnut and pear cookie
For 18 cookies
for the dough
90 grams (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp) soft unsalted butter
70 grams (⅓ cup) sugar
½ egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
grated rind of ½ orange
175 grams (1⅛ cups) flour
pinch of salt
for the filling
100 grams (½ cup) dried pears
juice of 1 orange
grated rind of ½ orange
75 grams (¾ cup) walnut halves
1 tablespoon butter
In a bowl beat the butter and sugar for about 5 mins, until it is light and creamy.
Add the egg, vanilla and lemon rind and beat well.
Mix in the flour and salt and bring together into a nice ball of dough. Add some water if the dough is too crumbly. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for 1 hour, but preferably overnight.
In the meantime make the filling. Cut the pear into small pieces and put them in a pan with the orange juice. Bring to a boil and leave to simmer with the lid on for about 10 mins. Leave to cool and chop roughly with the cooking liquid, walnuts and orange rind in a food processor
Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F. Between 2 sheets of baking paper roll out the dough into a thin sheet of about ⅓ cm / ⅛ inch. Cut into rectangles of 10×7 cm / 4×3 inches. Bring the dough together, roll out again and cut out more rectangles. Repeat until all the dough is finished.
Place 1 scant teaspoon of filling in the middle of each rectangle. Fold both long sides to the middle leaving ⅓ open. Pinch together the dough around the filling and make a bow tie shape. Some filling should still peep out.
Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper for 20-25 mins. until light brown and done. Take out of the oven and leave to cool on the cookie sheet.
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