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Posted by on Feb 18, 2013 in Dessert, Recipes, Vegetarian | 0 comments

Recipe: Haman’s Fingers

Recipe: Haman’s Fingers

I received an email two days before the festival of Purim last year, “I know  you are so busy, but I am wondering if  you could bring some cookies for Purim?” By “cookies,” she meant hamantashen. It’s a triangular pastry traditionally eaten at that time and made by folding a circle of dough into a triangle around a filling.

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.

Haman’s Fingers

Improvised from 1,000 Jewish Recipes by Faye Levy

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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


  1. Chop pine nuts with sugar in a food processor until coarse. Stir in cinnamon and grated orange rind.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. The paper will save scrubbing at the end of your baking.
  3. Remove sheets of phyllo from the package and unroll them on a dry towel.
  4. With a sharp knife, cut the stack of dough in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise.
  5. 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.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. 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.
  8. Put about two teaspoons of filling at one end of a phyllo square, extending along the whole edge.
  9. 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.
  10. Transfer the roll to a baking sheet.
  11. Repeat steps 7 through 10 to make more phyllo fingers with remaining dough and filling.
  12. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden. In my oven, it took the full 20 minutes.
  13. Transfer the rolls to a rack to cool.

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