Everything I learned about baking, I learned from my Mom. We had a big drop down counter in the kitchen and my Mom was always baking something and we were always welcome to help or just lick the beaters off the Sunbeam mix master. Now if you ask my Mom where she learned to bake she will start to reminisce about Lillian Kaplun. Lillian Kaplun was a woman who taught a generation of Toronto women, in the 1950s through 70s, how to cook and bake out of her Bathurst Street apartment and later in a storefront on Eglinton.
Lillian Kaplun (1909-2005) leaves behind a rich legacy including a number of wonderful cookbooks. My Mom has many of her books – For the Love of Baking (published in 1960), For the Love of Cooking (published in 1968), and For the Love of Entertaining (published in 1981). In 1994 she put out Lillian Kaplun’s Kitchen and my Mom bought one for herself as well as my two sisters, my sister-in-law and me. I would say this is a “best of” sort of book which I reference often, particularly if it pertains to a Jewish holiday or CHICKEN SOUP!
Purim is on Wednesday. This cute Sesame Street video tells the story of Purim and sorta explains the reference to the symbolic triangle of the holiday. Haman, the villain of Purim, wore a triangular hat so that is why we make these yummy triangular cookies called Hamantashen.
I pulled out Lillian Kaplun’s recipe, called my friend Ellen for help and we made 20 dozen triangular fun filled cookies.
And this is how we did it.
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup butter, shortening or margarine
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp honey
1/8 tsp salt
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Cream butter (or shortening or margerine); add sugar gradually and cream thoroughly. Add honey and blend well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in dry ingredients. Chill for a few hours or overnight.
Prune Filling (Ellen’s favorite)
¾ cup chopped prune
¼ cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
½ lemon, zest of , finely grated
Combine ingredients in small saucepan. Cook over low heat until prunes are very soft. Puree with stick blender. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
Poppy Seed Filling (my favorite and my late father’s too;)
¼ lb ground poppy seeds
1 tbsp lemon rind
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup honey
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook covered over low heat for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 tbsp butter or margarine
6 tbsp corn starch
½ cup sugar
6 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp grated lemon rind
½ cup water
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
Put 1 cup water, ½ cup sugar, and butter in top of double boiler and bring to a rolling boil. Dissolve corn starch and ½ cup sugar in water; add to the double boiler mixture, cooking and stirring for 5 to 8 minutes. Add lemon juice and rind, cook for another minute. Add some of the hot mixture to the egg yolks, then return to double boiler mixture and cook another 3 minutes. NOTE: you don’t want the eggs to cook in the mixture but slowly blend int. Pour filling into bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.
1 stick butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cold eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler, stirring frequently. Remove the top of the double boiler and add the sugar, vanilla extract and salt and continue stirring. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring to incorporate each completely before adding the next. Finally, stir in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon by hand for about a minute. The filling will turn glossy and begin to come away from the bowl. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
4 Granny Smith apples peeled and cored
¼ cup brown or white sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp apple cider, apple juice or cream soda
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Cook covered over low heat for about 10 minutes – until apples are lightly cooked but still fairly firm. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until needed.
Use your favorite jam – just make sure it is a pretty thick jam so that it does not spread too much.
Directions & Tips
NOTE: Prepare cookie dough (each batch makes around 2½ dozen 3” round cookies) and the fillings in advance. Then get set for putting them together. We made A LOT of cookies so used prune, poppyseed, raspberry jam, lemon, chocolate & apple fillings. You may want just one or two fillings so you may need to adjust the size of the filling recipes based on the amount of cookies you are going to make.
All recipes aside, you could also purchase fillings at a local Jewish bakery. Then you can get a little bit of each filling and just make a batch or two of cookie dough. Whatever you do, have fun because Purim is all about remembering and celebrating.
Roll out dough 1/4” thick. Cut into 3” rounds. Put 1 tsp. filling on each piece.
Fold into a triangle, pinching edges together.
Place on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 3500 for 15 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
I rolled and cut, Ellen filled and pinched (she really has a nice pinch). It was great to have a partner in making these cookies -- thanks Ellen for all your help!