The inspiration for these flaky, cheesy leek and feta hamantaschen comes from my best friend Danielle’s mother, Hannah. On almost any given visit to Hannah’s kitchen, there was a quiche just going into the oven or just coming out.
She would mix three or four European cheeses, many of which I had never heard of as a college kid, together with caramelized onions and vegetables, farm fresh eggs and the flakiest pastry. The result was a bit different each time, but there was always a perfect balance of saltiness from the cheese, sweetness from the onions and richness from the crust that was so much more than just dough.
For these savory hamantaschen, I make a quick all-butter piecrust using salted butter and freshly ground black pepper. There is no fancy equipment required, though you could also use a pastry cutter or food processor if you are accustomed to making piecrust.
The two most important things to remember when making piecrust is that all of the ingredients need to be very cold, and to work the dough minimally to ensure the crust is flaky. Then I make the filling by caramelizing leeks in olive oil and adding crumbled feta and cottage cheese. I use a mix of these two cheeses because the cottage cheese really mellows out the sharpness of the feta and creates a very creamy filling.
These leek and feta hamantaschen would be the perfect appetizer or side for any Purim party. I’ve even made them larger using a 4 1/2-inch circle cutter. With a salad or cup of soup, they are easily a very festive light lunch.
For the piecrust dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) very cold salted butter, cubed
4 to 5 Tbsp ice water
For the filling:
2 large leeks, washed well, and sliced thinly
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2/3 cup whole milk cottage cheese
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten for egg wash
1. To make the dough: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, pepper and salt and whisk to combine.
2. Add the cold cubed butter. Using clean fingers, smash the cubes of butter into the flour, coating each one with flour. You could also use a pastry cutter instead of fingers. Add the ice water and stir gently to combine, until the dough just starts to come together, but you should still see pea-sized pieces of butter. Dump half the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, and use the plastic to push the dough together into a ball.
3. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
4. To make the filling: Pour the olive into a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced leaks and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook until golden brown and caramelized, about 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
5. Combine the feta, cottage cheese and black pepper in a small bowl; mix well. Add the cooled leeks and stir to combine.
6. To assemble: Preheat oven to 400 F.
7. Remove one disk of dough from the fridge and roll out on a well-floured board to 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut out circles using a 3-inch cutter. Brush each circle with egg wash. Spoon 1-1/2 tsp. of the leek and feta mixture into the center of each circle.
8. Fold into a triangle, pinching the corners VERY well. Brush the tops and edges lightly with egg wash.
9. Place the hamantaschen back into the fridge for 10 minutes, then straight into the hot oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.