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First make the crust. Sift the flour and baking powder onto parchment paper. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the oil, sugar and vanilla, and blend at medium speed. One at a time, add the eggs, incorporating the first before the adding the second, and blend. Add the orange juice, if using and blend. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture, gradually to make a dough.
Divide the dough into 2 parts and flatten each to make a disk. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap, stack the discs on a plate, and refrigerate until the stiff enough to work easily, at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile make the filling(s). For the poppy, raspberry-and/or apricot fillings, combine the ingredients in small bowls, stir to blend, and refrigerate for 1 hour. For the chocolate combine the ingredients in a small bowl. Transfer half the filling to the centerof an 18 inch piece of plastic wrap, fold the wrap over the filling to enclose it, and squeeze the mixture to create a log 1-inch in diameter. Repeat with the remaining filling and freeze the logs.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Flour a work surface well and roll 1 of the discs out on it. Using a 3-inch glass or round cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the poppy seed, raspberry and/or apricot filling(s) in the center of each round, wet the edges with water and bring up the dough together to seal. Alternatively, drop the filling onto the dough by heaping tablespoons. For the chocolate filling, cut the frozen logs onto 1/2 inch discs. Fill the rounds by placing a disc in the center of each form and seal.
Transfer the hamentashen to 1 or more cookie sheets and bake, in batches if necessary, until pale gold 12 or 14 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.
It’s Chanuka and Jewish tradition calls for oil fried dishes, such as latkes – potato pancakes; sufganyot – jelly-filled doughnuts and more. Jelly filled doughnuts never appealed to me, so here is my version of doughnuts.
2 ½ cups flour
1 packet of yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
¼ cup warm water
¾ cup milk – cow, soy, almond, and cashew…warmed
2 ½ tbsp. shortening- softened
¼ cup sugar
oil for frying
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well until there are no lumps, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 1 cup of the flour. Mix for a few minutes at low speed, or stirring with a wooden spoon. Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double. ,(You can also put in in the refrigerator for a slow overnight rise. Just bring the dough to room temperature before continuing.) Dough is ready if you touch it, and the indention remains. About 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a floured 3-inch cutter. * (See note) Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until double. Cover loosely with a cloth.
Heat oil in a deep fryer or large heavy skillet to 350 degrees F. Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still hot, and set onto wire racks to drain off excess. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under racks for easier clean up.
1-tablespoon corn syrup
2-4 tablespoons of water
Place sugar. Corn syrup and vanilla in a bowl and mix well. Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue until you reach desired consistency. It should be liquid but not runny.
Submerge doughnut half way, turn over, and place on a cooling rack to set
NOTE: At this point the formed doughnuts can be refrigerated overnight, brought to room temperature the next day, and then rise before baking. You can also freeze them on a cookie sheet.