Cooking With Sophie

As promised long time ago when I had the post about the slice of heaven, I will visit Sophie and brink you the recipe. Sophie is such a lovely person, that is no wonder why she so much loved in the office by everyone. She gave me this awesome pie a few weeks ago, as a thank you to my small contribution to her cause. Please read the details here. I asked her to let me know when she is making it, so I can visit and take pictures of recipe. She did two weeks ago, but I know find time to post the recipe…The most important part of the recipe is the dough that is the Hamentaschen Dough. A hamantash (also spelled hamentasch, homentash, homentasch, (h)umentash, pluralized with -en or -n) is a pastry in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine recognizable for its three-cornered shape. It is eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim. They are made with many different flavors, including prunes, nut, poppy, date, apricot, fruit preserves, chocolate, or even caramel or cheese. Hamantashen are traditionally made by rolling the dough thin, cutting it into circles (of various sizes), placing filling in the center, and folding in three sides. The dough may be a cookie dough with orange juice added, citrus zest added, or a yeast dough.

 

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Here is the recipe that Sophie is following.

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup powder sugar (she cuts down the sugar, to about 1/2 to 3/4)
  • 1 cup of vegetable shortening (she is using vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

That dough can be rolled to a log and sliced for a great cookie recipe. For that though, I think you should stick with the full sugar and the shortening.

When I was there Sophie had already made the dough and it was in the refrigerator to rest for about 30 minutes.

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Spread some flour on the table

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Place the dough on the table and bring out the rolling pin.

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Roll out te dough to about 1/4 inch thick.

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Something like that. Traditionally for that pie, you can just put the filling in the middle and fold the sides over, like an envelope to make a rustic pie. Sophie is using the pie pan. Very good pie pan I might add.

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Measure to make sure that it is larger that the pan it, and it has clearance for the sides of the pan as well.

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Using the rolling pin, wrap the dough around it, and transfer it on the pan. do not push it down, let the weight of the dough to pull it down.

Speaking about filling…

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This is a great filling. Very filling (get it?… filling filling? ahh never mind..) So she is using apples and pears, and some natural sweetener like raisins, dried apricots, dates or other dried fruits.  The spices are simple, a dash of cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg. Keep it simple, it is an apple pie, not spice pie. She is just putting everything in the pot with 1/2 cup of orange juice. You need some liquid there or else the apples will burn. Towards the end (that is when the apples are cooked, not to a mash but to a tender soft apple) add a tbsp of corn starch to soak the reaming liquid converting it to a nice thicken sauce.

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Add the filling in the pie, but do not pack it in. You want it to be more light so the steam will find a way out.

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Flatten the top, (again flatten does not mean pack it ok?). Sophie now takes a pear and removes the seeds and slice it on the bias.

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Just like this…

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Take them and arrange them on the pie, slightly overlapping like this…

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In the middle Sophie is adding some nuts, but you can leave it empty, or add some more pear slices, or anything you feel like.

Bake at 375 F oven for 30-45 mins, since it will vary, based on the apples, and the moisture that is in them…

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When ready, let cool, slice and eat. Mmm… So good.

It is a great pie, and takes very little to make. Really. Very little. So I hope you like it. I hope Sophie is strong to face again her new awaiting  battle.

I have to mention here Sam. Sophie’s husband, a great guy, with great italian spirit and great cooking skills. He and Sophie, make a perfect couple… The compliment each other, just like in the kitchen. Sophie bakes and Sam cooks. Soon I will have pictures of Sam cooking, and his amazing Garden.

Sophie and Sam I love you!

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