I tested three non-dairy shortenings. Guess which made the best hamantaschen.
A few weeks ago, I decided to start the search for the perfect p_areve_, or non-dairy, hamantaschen, just like I searched for the perfect pareve pumpkin pie last fall.
I was dreaming of my first Purim with actual company in quite some time, and I launched a quest for a buttery, sweet, perfectly textured hamantaschen. I baked three different versions of my favorite hamantaschen recipe with three different fats: Earth Balance plant butter, Crisco, and extra virgin olive oil.
Like everything related to Purim, the experiment turned topsy-turvey.
What makes a good hamantaschen? Is it crunchy? Buttery? Cakey? What I ended up with were three very different, but very delicious hamantaschen. There was no clear loser or winner — but instead a guide to perfect texture for your specific hamantaschen tastes.
Every taster liked each cookie, every taster wanted more of each cookie. Every taster picked a favorite based on preferred texture. It’s the “floaters or sinkers” of Purim, with dessert instead of matzo ball soup.
Instead of presenting you a clear winner, I present to you a guide on which fat will make the pareve hamantaschen of your dreams. Chag Sameach!
Plant Butter (CRUNCH!)
If you want your hamantaschen to have a snap when you bite into it and crunch in your mouth, this is it. This hamantaschen definitely had the butteriest taste. Rolling it out and folding it was easy, but it was the least stiff of the dough, so it required a gentle touch to fold.
Do you love scones? Do you want a cakey buttery feel? This is the fat for you. You may need a little patience, as the dough is crumbly and whisking this into eggs took some extra love. That said, if you want a big cakey bite – this is the best pareve fat to use.
Olive Oil (The consensus builder)
Not too cakey, not too crunchy, this was a good consensus builder. Easy to roll, easy to bake and full of healthy fats. There was some debate over whether there was a faint hint of olive oil, but I couldn’t taste it. I was surprised by the mild flavor and lovely crumb. It was also by far the easiest to work with. It rolled easily, folded easily, and was surprisingly delicious.