Lemon Meringue Hamentashen

I would always choose lemon over chocolate.  Does that make me weird?  Don’t get me wrong,  it’s not that I don’t love chocolate too, but there is something bright, refreshing and lighter about the taste of citrus fruit. After getting creative for channukah with lemon meringue sufganiyot, I thought it was time to do the same for hamentashen.  And look out, because when pesach comes around (sorry, it’s coming too) you bet I will be making meringues with lemon curd filling.

I love workin with this easy vanilla dough. It works well with practically any filling, and there is no chilling time necessary, so immediate gratification!

Try to use as little flour as possible when rolling out, or roll between two sheets of parchment paper.  Use a 3 inch circle to cut, for a nice size hamentashen.

Although it is tempting, don’t fill with more than a scant teaspoon of filling, as it will bubble out.

Lemon Meringue Hamentashen

This recipe has three components: the cookie dough, the lemon filling and the meringue topping. This basic dough can be filled with any filling you like. It is made with oil, not margarine or butter, so it is “healthier” and does not need to be refrigerated prior to rolling out. The lemon curd filling can be substituted with prune lekvar, apricot jelly, chocolate spread or even canned lemon pie filling. The Swiss meringue topping is what makes this version special, but can easily be left out if you find it too challenging. Prepare the lemon curd first, as it needs to cool and thicken prior to being used as filling.
Course Dessert
Servings 3 dozen
Author dinnerlady

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water or orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Lemon Curd

  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 8 tablespoons butter or margarine cut into pieces

Swiss Meringue

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar scant
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla, bean, paste or extract

Instructions

Dough: In a stand mixer, combine oil, water or juice, zest, sugar, eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined. Add baking powder, salt and flour, and mix just until the ingredients are combined. Take care not to overmix to avoid the formation of gluten. Divide dough into 3 parts, and wrap each in plastic wrap until ready to use. The dough tends to dry out if left exposed for too long. When you are ready to bake, roll out one piece of dough on lightly floured surface, or between two sheets of parchment paper, until 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough with a cookie cutter or glass, into 3 inch rounds. Fill with desired filling, pinch closed into a triangle. Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 9-10 minutes, or until bottom is golden, and edges are just starting to brown.

Lemon Curd: Heat one inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler. Place the curd ingredients (except the butter) in a non-reactive bowl and whisk together until well combined. Place the bowl over the simmering water and cook, whisking for about 8-10 minutes, until mixture has thickened and is a light, lemony yellow color. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the butter to the mixture, one piece at a time, and continue to stir until it is all incorporated. Strain the curd by pouring it through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Cover with plastic wrap, with the plastic touching the surface of the curd to avoid the formation of a skin. If you are reserving the curd for another day, place it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Otherwise, to cool it down quickly, place the bowl of curd into a larger bowl filled with ice water. The curd can keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Swiss Meringue: Combine egg whites, sugar, and salt and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of a standing mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until mixture is 170 degrees (will feel hot to the touch and sugar has fully dissolved.) Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Add vanilla and continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy, and completely cool (test by touching the bottom of the bowl), about 10 minutes. Fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe rosettes as desired. Alternatively, you can spoon some meringue on the hamentashen and swirl. If you have a hand-held culinary torch, toast the meringue carefully by running the flame over the meringue. Otherwise, return the hamentashen to the oven set to 400 for 2-3 minutes, keeping a close eye so that the meringue doesn’t burn.