This thick and rich Caramel Apple Filling can be used for cookies, pastries, and our favorite Purim treat – hamantaschen! Green apples are cooked together with dulce de leche to create a creamy, sweet and slightly salted filling that is absolutely irresistible. Use it for hamantaschen, kolache, cookies, pastries, or any baked treat you can dream up!
Every year at Purim, I like to experiment with a new hamantaschen flavor. With these cookies, it’s all about the filling flavor. I always make our standard family classics– poppy seed, apricot, prune, and Nutella (my stepdaughter’s favorite!). Then I throw in a couple of new flavors to change things up. If the family likes them, I add them to the list for next year.
This year, I tried to come up with a filling that was really unique… something I’ve never seen before. I recently learned how to make dulce de leche in the oven, and I’ve been addicted ever since. The sweet, creamy, lightly salted caramel flavor is so amazing, and it’s surprisingly simple to make. My mind started drifting to ways I could use it in a hamantaschen filling. Most hamantaschen fillings I’ve used in the past are fruit based. What fruit goes best with caramel flavor? Why apple, of course!
Then I remembered that a few years ago I found a recipe for dulce de manzana, a Sephardic Jewish dish for Rosh Hashanah. The dish is made by grating apples and boiling them in sugar syrup, then reducing them till a thick, rich apple sauce forms. Why not combine the two ideas – dulce de leche and dulce de manzana – to create a brand new hamantaschen filling? My Caramel Apple Hamantaschen Filling was born!
For this recipe, you’ll need to make a batch of dulce de leche. It’s super easy to make (and safe– no can boiling required). Click here for the recipe. You’ll only use 1/3 cup of the dulce de leche in this recipe, which means you’ll have about a cup left over. Save the rest to use as a topping for ice cream, pour it over pancakes or crepes, or do what I do and eat it by the spoonful… it’s that good!
Need a delicious and foolproof dough recipe? Check out my Dairy Free Hamantaschen and Buttery Hamantaschen doughs. When baked into a tasty dough, this filling provides a lovely burst of caramel apple sweetness in the center of your hamantaschen cookie. What a treat!
For tips on How to Make Perfect Hamantaschen, click here.
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Caramel Apple Filling
- 1 1/2 lbs Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium apples)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup dulce de leche - click for recipe
- Salt to taste
- Before you begin this recipe, you'll need to make a batch of dulce de leche - click for recipe. The process is very easy, but it takes about 90 minutes. To save time, you can make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator till you're ready to begin.
- Peel and core the apples. Shred them into fine shreds using a hand grater or food processor shredding attachment.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil.
- Add the shredded apples to the boiling water and return to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and let the mixture simmer for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, till most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture resembles a very thick applesauce. When the mixture is ready, it will start to sizzle lightly in the pan and clump together when you stir it. Don't let the mixture burn, but do let it get quite thick.
- Stir in the dulce de leche; add salt to taste. The salt adds depth and gives the flavor of a salted caramel. It also offsets the sweetness a bit.
- Note that the filling is quite sweet on its own (it may initially taste "too sweet"), but it bakes to perfection when used for filling hamantaschen. Let the mixture cool.
- Refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour before using it to fill hamantaschen; this will thicken it and make it easier to manage when filling.
- Use filling with your favorite hamantaschen dough. Use about 1 tsp of filling per cookie. For dough recipe suggestions, see blog above.