Dulce de Leche and Goat Cheese Hamantaschen
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 50 minutes Resting Time: 1 hour 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
A soft yeast dough, a tangy, salty cheese, and the sweetest, milkiest caramel ever make one incredible Latino-inspired cookie.
1 (¼-ounce) package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
¼ cup warm water (see Kitchen Tips)
4½ cups (617 grams) plus ¼ cup for dusting
¼ cup (53 grams) dark brown sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground annatto (achiote)
½ cup goat’s milk yogurt or full-fat buttermilk
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and at room temperature
Seeds of 1 large moist vanilla bean, Mexican preferred (See Kitchen Tips)
1 teaspoon water
⅔ cup crumbled mild goat cheese
- Make the dough: Combine the yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or if you are using a handheld mixer, in a large mixing bowl) and mix very gently. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the yeast foams and bubbles a bit.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the 4½ cups flour, the brown sugar, salt, and annatto. Add half the flour mixture to the bubbling yeast and mix gently at low speed until almost combined. Add the yogurt or buttermilk and mix again to combine. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix again. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing just to combine between additions. Add the butter and vanilla and mix again until fully combined.
- Switch the mixer attachment to the dough hook and knead for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl and is soft and pliable. Remove the bowl of the mixer and cover with a moist kitchen towel. Set in a warm, draft-free place (about 75° to 80°F) and let rise for 1 hour.
- Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough gently for 4 to 5 minutes to deflate it, working until it is soft and smooth. Return the dough to the bowl, cover again lightly with the kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
- Make the egg wash by whisking the egg and water in a small bowl and set aside.
- Dust the work surface with flour again and rub the rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough to a thickness of ¼ inch. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds. Collect and reroll the scraps and cut them into rounds, or simply pat them into circles.
- With a pastry brush, lightly dab the edges of each round with a little egg wash and place 1 scant teaspoon of goat cheese and 1 full teaspoon of dulce de leche in the center of each. Fold the sides into toward the center to form triangles, pinching the corners to form points and leaving some of the filling exposed at the top.
- With a large spatula, transfer the filled hamantaschen to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 2 inches apart. These spread quite a bit as they bake, so you will need to work in batches. Brush the pastry (but not the filling) with egg wash.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the dough is a pale golden color. (If they get darker than that they will still taste good, but not quite as good.) Repeat with the remaining pastries, working in batches as necessary.
- Yeast is a little living creature, and it needs special handling. You need warm water to activate it and get it started eating and bubbling, but if the water is too warm (more than 110°F), you’ll kill it and it simply won’t work at all. The water for your yeast mixture should be between 85°F and 100°F.
- To prepare a vanilla bean pod, slit it lengthwise with a sharp knife, and scrape out the seeds. The seeds can be added to baked goods, ice creams and many other recipes. The pod can be added to a container of granulated sugar to make vanilla-scented sugar (aka vanilla sugar) or added to liquid infusions.