Monday, February 15, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Purim Hamantaschen

The Jewish holiday of Purim begins in about a week, on February 28th.  I made hamantaschen (which can also be spelled hamentaschen), the traditional Purim cookie over the weekend.  Purim is one of the most festive and joyous Jewish holidays, celebrating an occasion when Jews living in Persia were saved from certain death by Haman, the Purim villain who wanted to destroy the Jewish community.  The holiday is traditionally celebrated by the reading of the Megillah, dressing in elaborate, carnival-like costumes, drinking and eating hamantaschen.  Basically, Purim is the Jewish Mardi Gras.  I usually enjoy this holiday simply by eating hamantaschen, but this year decided to make my own.

Hamantaschen are tri-corned cookies that are usually filled with a flavorful fruit jelly or jam.  The name "hamantaschen" is a reference to the villian of the Purim story, Haman, while the cookies are triangular shaped to look like his hat.  The shape is achieved by folding a piece of dough into a triangular shape by placing a filling in the center.  You can fill hamentaschen with almost any flavor of filling.  The most traditional are poppyseed, prune and apricot.  My favorite fillings are apricot, raspberry, peach and blueberry.  This year I made the latter two.  I loved eating hamentaschen growing up, and some things never change.  This recipe is a family recipe, that has been passed along amongst my in-laws for generations.

Hamantaschen Dough
1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Hamantaschen Filling (or substitute store-bought filling of your choice)
1/2 cup pureed fruit (blueberries, papaya, apricot, peaches and raspberries are my favorites)
1/4 cup sugar

To prepare the dough, beat the butter and sugar in the basin of a stand mixer, then add the egg and the vanilla.  Finally, beat in the dry ingredients.  Refrigerate the dough for at least ten hours, or overnight, so the dough is firm and not as sticky.

Roll out the dough, and cut into cookies using either a circular shaped cookie cutter or the rim of a glass. For the filling, you can use either pureed store-bought pie filling, or you can puree half a cup of fruit with a quarter cup of sugar and heat, stirring, over medium heat, until the filling has a jam-like consistency.

To prepare the hamantaschen, place a teaspoon of filling into each circle and fold each of the three sides inward to form a triangle.

Bake the cookies at 400 F for about 6-8 minutes.  Once they start browning, the bottoms will be burnt, so be sure not to let them back for too long.  Delicious!  The recipe made about 30 hamantaschen, all of which disappeared very quickly!

I'm excited to report that I now have an inexpensive (but suitable) pizza stone and will be experimenting with some different pizzas over the next couple weeks, so stay tuned.



  1. The hamantaschen look haman-tastic. Love.

  2. The look...haman-decent.

  3. I'm impressed. It looks like you could give Maleks a run for the money. Are you all Hamantachened out or should I buy you some so you can compare?

  4. Mm, I love hamentaschen. They're unabashedly dense and hearty, and since they only come around Purim they're always special!

  5. Alex says these look great. He is wondering if you can make them when you come to visit:-).


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