Pastry is the master Chocolate and Vanilla Cream of all pastry chefs and is used as a filling for tarts, cookies, doughnuts, and so many other baked goods. be sure to let the cool completely before using it. the pastry can also be refrigerated for up to two days before you make the cookies; just give it a good whisking before mixing it with the chocolate chips. this hamantaschen and the apple-filled one are the most delicate of the hamantaschens and are best enjoyed within a day or two of baking.
Makes approx. 40
Resting time is 1 hour
Approximately 13-15 minutes
WHAT YOU NEED
125g granulated sugar (2/3 cup)
45g cornstarch (1/3 cup)
480g whole milk (2 cups)
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out and reserved
1 recipe almond shortbread dough
All-purpose flour, for rolling the dough
150g bittersweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1 large egg
Pinch of fine salt
Almond Shortbread Dough
230g unsalted butter (cold)
100g confectioners’ sugar (scant 1 cup)
50g granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
1½ large eggs, beaten
400g all-purpose flour (3 cups plus 2
tablespoons), plus extra for dusting and rolling
50g almond flour (1/2 cup)
5g fine salt (1 teaspoon)
WHAT TO DO
Almond Shortbread Dough Method
1. Set the butter on a piece of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to whack it – you want to soften the butter but keep it cold. Place the smashed butter, confectioners’ sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed until combined – about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium-low and beat for 30 seconds (you want the mixture to be well mixed but not airy – you don’t want volume).
2. Add the beaten eggs and mix on low speed until just combined, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the all-purpose flour, almond flour, and salt and mix just until almost combined. Turn off the mixer, remove the bowl from the mixer base, and use a plastic dough scraper to continue to fold and work the dough until it is of one consistency (finishing the dough by hand prevents overmixing and ensures that the shortbread will be very tender).
3. Transfer the dough to a large sheet of parchment paper and use plastic wrap or another sheet of parchment to press it into a 5-by-10-inch, ½-inch-thick rectangle. Leaving the plastic wrap (or parchment) on top, refrigerate the dough for 1 hour (the dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days before using or frozen for up to 1 month).
1. Place the egg yolks in a heat-safe medium bowl, add the sugar, and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the cornstarch and set the bowl aside.
2. Whisk the milk and Chocolate and Vanilla Cream seeds together in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, and set it over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk comes to a simmer. Whisk a drizzle of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture –you want to warm the yolks gently so they don’t curdle. Whisk in more milk, a little at a time, until the bottom of the bowl is warm to the touch. Then pour all the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk well to combine. Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, making sure that the pastry cream doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan, until the pastry cream is smooth, steam rises off the top, and one or two bubbles burst at the surface, 4 to 6 minutes.Pour the pastry cream into a medium bowl. Cover the Chocolate and Vanilla Cream with plastic wrap pressed directly against its surface and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours (it will keep for up to 2 days).
3. Set the shortbread dough on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top, and roll the dough into an 18-inch square that is 1/8 inch thick. As you roll it, move the dough often, flouring the top and underside lightly so it doesn’t stick to the work surface or rolling pin. If the dough becomes warm and starts to stick or become difficult to work with (before it gets too large—otherwise it is tricky to move), slide it onto a sheet pan and refrigerate it until it becomes firm again—about 20 minutes should do it.
4. Make the egg wash: In a small bowl, whisk the egg, water, and salt together. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter (or an upside-down glass) to stamp out as many rounds as possible, leaving as little space between the rounds as possible so you don’t end up with lots of scraps. Place the rounds on a parchment paper–lined sheet pan about 1½ inches apart and refrigerate for 10 minutes to chill them. Gather the scraps and lightly press them together into a ball (don’t knead the dough—just firmly press it), flatten the ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and set it aside in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Lightly brush the surface of each chilled pastry round with egg wash. Using a spoon or a pastry bag, place a mound of pastry cream and Chocolate and Vanilla Cream (1½ to 2 tablespoons) on the centre of each round. Press 5 chocolate chips into the mound of filling. Pinch the dough into the classic triangular hamantaschen shape around the filling.
5. Flour the work surface and roll out the ball of scraps. Repeat the stamping, filling, and shaping process, refrigerating the dough if it becomes too sticky to work with. Add these hamantaschen to the others on the sheet pan. Discard any remaining dough scraps, and refrigerate the hamantaschen for at least 30 minutes to chill thoroughly.
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions.
7. Use a pastry brush to lightly brush the sides of each hamantaschen with egg wash. Bake a sheet of hamantaschen on each oven rack for 8 minutes; then rotate the top sheet to the bottom rack and the bottom to the top rack and continue to bake until the pastry is evenly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the sheet pans from the oven and set the cookies aside to cool. Store the hamantaschen in an airtight container for up to 3 days.