Recipe: Haman’s Fingers
I confess I’m not much of a baker. Many cookbooks say to set aside about three hours to make hamantaschen. Because I make those pastries once a year and don’t get enough practice to be wonderfully efficient, I have to take off from work the day before just to get them right.
So, last year, I broke out of the hamantaschen mold and made something different. When I found this recipe for Haman’s Fingers online, I knew I had my answer. It has at least one familiar Korean ingredient (pine nuts) and doesn’t take me an entire day for me to make. The recipe is a common Jewish recipe in Turkey and Greece. I’m not sure why it’s called Haman’s fingers except the rolled up dough is slender like a finger.
The recipe didn’t use up most of my half-pound of phyllo dough. I set aside any sheets of dough that were broken or accidentally touched the damp towel or were unsuitable for the task at hand and made a Greek-style cheese pie with them. I couldn’t let go of the dough.
This dish in the hands of family, friends and co-workers will make short work of leftover phyllo or dough that needs to go before Passover, and save you from a carb coma.
Improvised from 1,000 Jewish Recipes by Faye Levy
Makes about 30 pastries
½ pound phyllo dough (defrosted)
1½ cups pine nuts
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
6-8 tablespoons butter, melted
- Chop pine nuts with sugar in a food processor until coarse. Stir in cinnamon and grated orange rind.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. The paper will save scrubbing at the end of your baking.
- Remove sheets of phyllo from the package and unroll them on a dry towel.
- With a sharp knife, cut the stack of dough in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise.
- Cover phyllo immediately with a price of wax paper, then with a damp towel on top. I folded the wax paper in half then tucked the phyllo inside. Being right-handed, I had it open to the right so I could easily grab a sheet of dough and then immediately cover it again.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Work with only one sheet of dough at a time, and keep the remaining sheets covered so they don’t dry out. Carefully remove one pastry square from the stack. Brush it lightly with melted butter.
- Put about two teaspoons of filling at one end of a phyllo square, extending along the whole edge.
- Fold the two ends of dough in, slightly over the filling, then roll the phyllo tightly to form a thin “finger.” The rolling technique is similar to that for making a taquito or burrito.
- Transfer the roll to a baking sheet.
- Repeat steps 7 through 10 to make more phyllo fingers with remaining dough and filling.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden. In my oven, it took the full 20 minutes.
- Transfer the rolls to a rack to cool.