Blue Cheese and Jam Hamantaschen

by dccheese on March 14, 2014

in Cooking with Cheese

Maybe it’s the endless winter blues, but my two curd kids have been on a serious blue cheese kick lately. The littlest and I were at our neighborhood shop choosing cheeses and the monger kept giving us milder cheeses he thought she would like. She’d politely nibble each one, and then, growing frustrated, stomped her little foot and said, “NOW can I try a blue one?!” This experience was repeated almost exactly later in the week when the boy and I stopped by Righteous Cheese. He sampled what I was trying, then demanded a wedge of Smokey Blue for himself. So naturally, when I realized that the Jewish holiday of Purim takes place this weekend, my first thought was, “Can I make hamantaschen with blue cheese?”

Blue Cheese and Jam Hamantaschen | CheeseandChampagne.com

As the non-Jewish half of a mixed marriage, I don’t have the benefit (or limitation) of family recipes for the traditional holiday foods. So I’ve spent a considerable amount of time researching recipes, and for hamantaschen, the traditional triangle-shaped Purim cookie, there are literally hundreds of variations. Many of the older recipes call for oil or margarine, in order to avoid the mixing of meat and milk if you serve these as dessert after a meat meal. I don’t believe in dairy substitutes, and fortunately we don’t keep kosher so I have no qualms about making my hamantaschen with butter.

Point Reyes Original Blue | CheeseandChampagne.com

There seem to be two general schools of thought on the dough; one is a cream cheese pastry dough that produces a flaky cookie, while the other is a denser, more cakelike dough. The latter is what you typically encounter at delis and Jewish bakeries and may be the more traditional, but my blue cheese hamantaschen dough is more like the cream cheese version. Of course, if you’re a hamantaschen purist you probably rolled your eyes and walked away after reading the title of this post, anyway.

Out of deference for the cookie’s Jewish roots, I did make sure to use a kosher cheese — Point Reyes Original Blue is Kosher-certified. If you can’t get your hands on that one, look for a blue made with vegetable rennet. (All Rogue Creamery blues except Caveman Blue are made with non-animal rennet; Big Woods Blue from Shepherd’s Way is also vegetarian.)

Marsh Hollow jam filled hamantaschen | CheeseandChampagne.com

It’s customary to fill hamantaschen with fruit jams or a poppyseed paste. I happened to have a triple berry jam from Marsh Hollow, Vermont, that perfectly complements the Point Reyes blue. I’d stick to a dark berry, black or even marionberry if you can find it.

Recipe: Blue Cheese and Jam Hamantaschen
Makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 ounces blue cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • jam, for filling
  • water

Instructions:

1. Cut butter into tablespoons and place in bowl of mixer. Crumble blue cheese into bowl as well. Mix on low speed until smooth. Add sugar and beat on low another minute.

2. Add flour and salt and mix on low until dough is just combined. Will be a little crumbly. Pat together to form a disk; wrap with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Put a little water in a small bowl and set it and the jam next to your work area.

4. Roll out dough on floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out circles and place them on the baking sheet. Add a small teaspoon-full of jam in the center of each round. Dip your finger in the water and run it around the edge of the circle. Fold one side in at a time, over the jam, and press the corners to seal. (See picture below.) Dough should partially but not completely cover the jam. Dough may crack a little as you fold; just gently press it together around the edges.

5. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until edges are just golden. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack to cool.

~

folding hamantaschen | CheeseandChampagne.com

By the way, the toasty blue cheese fragrance while these cook is divine — though if you have blue haters in your home, you may wish to bake these while they are out. Oh, and yes, my curd kids LOVED these.

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