Think poppy seed hamantaschen and odds are good that it's a plain dough with a sticky poppy filling that comes to mind. But that traditional pairing isn't the only way to use poppy seeds in your Purim pastries. Mixing them into the dough instead is a delicious -- and unconventional -- way to give a nod to the symbolism behind the seeds: Queen Esther is said to have lived on seeds, nuts, beans, and grains, the better to quietly keep kosher while living in Achashverosh's palace before her big reveal of her Jewish heritage.
So if you take the poppy seeds out of the filing, what should you put in your hamantaschen? Lemon and poppy are a classic pairing, and Purim tends to fall close to spring, so the bright flavor and sunny hue of lemon curd feels perfect. Make your own with this pareve, (and margarine-free!) recipe, or use a store-bought curd to save time. (Keep in mind that while the dough is pareve, your hamantaschen will be dairy if you use a curd that contains butter or cream.)
- For the Dough:
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine Kosher salt (or sea salt)
- Optional: zest of 1 lemon (finely grated)
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as sunflower or canola)
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the Filling:
- 2 cups lemon curd (store-bought or homemade)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, confectioners sugar, granulated sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest (if using).
In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, combine the oil, egg, orange juice, and vanilla. Mix with a fork to lightly beat the egg.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix well with electric beaters or a large wooden spoon until the dough begins to pull together into a ball.
Using clean hands, knead the dough briefly in the bowl to ensure that all of the ingredients are mixed and no streaks of flour remain.
Divide the dough in half. Gather it into two balls, flatten each into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Chill the dough for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the dough disks to between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick. Use a 2 1/2- or 3-inch round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut out circles. Gather up the dough scraps, re-roll, and continue cutting circles with the remaining dough.
Carefully transfer the dough circles to the prepared baking sheets and place 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of lemon curd in the center of each dough circle.
Fold up the edges to form a triangle shape, allowing some of the filling to show. Pinch the corners of the dough to seal well.
Bake the hamantaschen in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the dough is firm and the bottoms begin to turn a light golden brown.
Transfer the hamantaschen to a wire rack to cool.