A delicious vegetarian pasty transformed into a savoury Purim delicacy! Filled with veggies & cheese, these tasty treats are a lovely light meal or snack.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had hamantaschen on the brain for a while now. These triangular filled pastries, traditionally eaten on Purim, are just so versatile! It seems not a day goes by without another brilliant idea for a filling, or a new kind of crust, or both. It’s a food that’s just begging to be played with.
Last year for the first time I came across savoury hamantaschen. I was actually a bit annoyed with myself for not having thought of it before! Why should the desserts get all the glory? I vowed to make savoury as well as sweet hamantaschen in future. And here they are!
Traditional British pasties
I made a variation on the traditional British pasty – an easy short pastry case filled with vegetables, meat or other savoury fillings, and crimped to seal before baking. Historically, pasties have been associated with Cornwall, where hungry miners would take them underground as a convenient packed lunch. The story goes that the pasty’s crimped pastry join formed a disposable handle which could be discarded along with any dirt from the eater’s hands. The classic Cornish Pasty now has PDO status, and also contains meat, so I’m being very careful to avoid making any claims of authenticity regarding my pasty-hamantaschen!
Large or small?
What I will say about these pasties is that they are delicious! They would be a great addition to your Purim seudah – something satisfyingly savoury before all the sweets. I made four big ones which were more or less main course size, but you could easily make lots of little ones instead. They would be great on a buffet, or you could serve them canapé style, or pop them into your mishloach manot boxes.
I sprinkled the pasties with poppy seeds in a nod to the traditional hamantaschen filling, but you could substitute any kinds of seeds or toppings, or leave them off altogether. The egg wash gives them a lovely glossy golden finish on its own.
This made four large pasty-hamantaschen, but I estimate it would make 8-12 small ones.
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Cheese and vegetable pasty hamantaschen
For the pastry
- 200 g plain flour (approx. 1⅔ cups)
- 100 g margarine or butter (approx. ½ cup)
- 100 ml cold water (or thereabouts) (scant ½ cup)
For the filling
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 2 parsnips
- 1 medium potato
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Pinch salt
- 70 g grated cheese (approx. ¾ cup)
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- Rub the flour into the margarine/butter (or whizz in a food processor) to give fine crumbs. Add just enough cold water to bring the crumbs together into a soft dough - you may not need all the water.
- Shape the dough into a disc about 2cm (1 inch) thick, wrap in clingfilm, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the filling
- Peel the onion and dice finely. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium heat, and saute the onion for a few minutes until soft.
- Meanwhile, peel the carrots, parsnips and potato and cut into 1cm (½ inch) chunks.
- Add the vegetables to the pan with the onion, and mix well. Season with the herbs, pepper and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes until everything is nice and soft. (If the mixture seems a little dry, or is sticking, add a spoonful or two of water just to lubricate.)
To assemble and cook
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
- Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of 4-5mm (approx. ⅕ inch). Use a 12cm (4¾ inch) diameter round cutter to cut out 4 circles of pastry. You may need to re-roll to get four circles.
- Place a quarter of the vegetable mixture in the centre of each circle, topped with a quarter of the grated cheese. Leave a gap of 1-1.5cm (½-⅔ inch) around the edge.
- Brush around the edges of the pastry circles with the beaten egg, then fold the sides up into a triangle and crimp the seams together. Transfer the pasty hamantaschen to a non-stick baking sheet.
- Brush the outside of the pastry with more egg, and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- Bake the hamantaschen at 190°C (375°F) for around 30 minutes until cooked and golden. Serve at once while piping hot.
If you’re curious to know more about Purim, when these delicacies are eaten, there’s a brief outline accompanying my recipe for brown sugar hamantaschen.