Hamantaschen Pizza is a genius Purim snack
If you plan to follow the Purim directive to drink until you can no longer tell the difference between “blessed is Mordechai” and “cursed is Haman,” then it would be advisable to have something of substance in your stomach when you do.
What if this year’s hamantaschen could stand in for an actual meal — or at least a filling and familiar party food? What if, in the masquerading spirit of the celebration, little personal pizzas could dress up as the classic three-cornered cookie?
With only a little alchemy, they can.
In developing the recipe for this hybrid holiday finger-food, I decided to maintain the hamantaschen’s almost short-bread-like crumble rather than turning to a more pizza-like dough. In fact I changed the traditional recipe only slightly, reducing the sugar and adding a bit of fennel seed for a hit of warm, savory goodness. (If you don’t have fennel seed, consider substituting dried basil or oregano.)
The resulting pastry is full of delightful contrasts — zesty but still a bit sweet; crumbly on the outside and luxuriously ooey and gooey within. And as with regular pizza, it’s entirely open to interpretation and substitution. The recipe below, which calls for two types of mozzarella cheese and optional vegan sausage, could easily be adapted to contain any combination of your favorite pizza toppings.
However you decide to dress them up, these delicious pizza hamantaschen are the perfect heavy hors d’oeuvre to accompany your chosen party poison. They’re best served warm from the oven — just be sure to let them rest long enough that the melted cheese oozing from within is no longer molten when it reaches your mouth.
I included a method for quick, easy tomato sauce, but feel free to use your favorite jarred pizza sauce to save a step.
Makes about 20 hamantaschen
For the dough
12 tablespoons (6 ounces) butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly toasted in a dry pan and crushed, or ¼ teaspoon
crushed dried oregano or basil
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1–2 teaspoons cold water if necessary
For the tomato sauce
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
¼ cup finely minced onion
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated or finely minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼–½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
28-ounces of tomato puree (or whole canned tomatoes pureed in a food processor)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
Additional fillings and garnish
8 ounces fresh mozzarella sliced about ¼” thick and cut into 1-inch triangles
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 links plant-based sweet or hot Italian sausage such as Beyond Sausage, cut into ¼-
inch thick rounds (optional)
Fresh basil leaves for garnish
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about a minute, scraping down the sides as needed. Add egg and mix until combined, scraping down sides again. Add fennel seeds and salt and mix to combine. With mixer on low speed, add flour a little at a time, then mix just until dough comes together and looks relatively smooth. (At first it will look lumpy.) If dough seems too crumbly after about a minute, add a teaspoon of cold water and continue processing, adding another one if needed, until dough becomes smooth.
Turn dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface and form into two 1-inch thick disks, working dough as little as possible. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce and prepare the fillings. To make tomato sauce, cook onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook 2 minutes more. Add tomato, salt, and sugar and simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, red pepper flakes, and sugar to taste.
If using sausage, heat a pan and add 2 teaspoons oil. When oil is hot, add sausage and cook about 2 minutes per side. Drain on a piece of paper towel.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sheets of parchment paper on two cookie sheets. Using a rolling pin, roll one disk of dough out onto a lightly floured surface until it’s a little more than ⅛-inch thick. (The dough will be hard at first, but will yield soon enough.)
Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut into as many circles as possible, placing them on the prepared cookie sheets as you go. Gather excess dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a half hour or so. (If dough gets too warm, the hamantaschen will not hold their shape when baked and the fillings may leak.)
Working quickly, place one triangle of fresh mozzarella in the center of each circle. If using sausage, place one round over the cheese. Top with 1 teaspoon tomato sauce, then 1 teaspoon shredded mozzarella. Lift up two “sides” of the circle of dough, connecting them into one point of a triangle and pinch to close the corners. Lift opposite “side” of the circle, forming the other two points of the triangle, and pinch them closed. Repeat with remaining dough. (If dough becomes soft/warm, place cookie sheets in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before baking.)
Bake for about 18 minutes, until cookies are pale golden and corners are beginning to brown. Transfer to a rack or platter to cool down just a little before serving.