15 March 2009


George makes hands down the best pastries and cookies I have ever had. As he is of Hungarian heritage, many of George's pastries are from George Lang's Hungarian cookbook and contain a cow's worth of butter. He devises his recipes by reading several Internet sources and cookbooks and then figuring out in his head the best version. He never goofs up. How lucky am I that every Purim George makes the traditional Purim cookie, hamantaschen. Hamantaschen are named after the Purim villain, Haman, and they are supposed to represent variously his three-cornered hat, his ears, or his pockets. When I was in Hebrew school we filled them with jam and/or chocolate, vanilla, or peanut butter chips. George's are filled with lekvar, a Hungarian fruit filling that we have found is also delicious in mandelbroit, a rolled Ashkenazi biscotti-type cookie.

George says he may have adapted the recipe for the dough from the Joy of Cooking. We don't have one here so we weren't able to check. Make the lekvar the day before you make the dough.

1 lb. prunes or dried apricots
2/3 C. — 1 C. water
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 C. brown sugar

Cook fruit with water and lemon juice until it's a thick, mushy texture. You have to mash the fruit as you go. Turn off the heat and mix in the brown sugar. If you want, briefly run it through the food processor to smooth out the texture and get rid of any lumps of fruit. Chill.

1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 Cups of sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons of sifted baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

With an electric mixer, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in the rest of the ingredients. Chill the dough 3 to 4 hours. On a floured board, roll out the dough to 1/8th inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch rounds. Place 1 teaspoon of lekvar in the center of each round. Bring the edges together and pinch to form a triangle. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

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