6 recipes for hamantaschen and other Purim goodies
One of the most important customs of Purim, the Jewish holiday that begins at sundown Thursday and lasts through sundown Friday, is the giving of food. The practice, called mishloach manot in Hebrew, entails sending at least two ready-to-eat foods to the elderly and the poor, friends and family. Whatever else is in the package, hamantaschen, the Eastern European symbolic, triangle-shaped, filled Purim pastries are a must.
Traditionally, hamantaschen are filled with poppy seeds or preserves made from dried fruits such as prunes or apricots. The pastry can be a short dough or a yeasted one. The prepared dough is rolled and cut into circles and the edges are folded up to form a triangular “crust,” which holds the filling. In Middle Eastern countries, a cookie called ma’amoul, filled with cinnamon-flavored ground walnuts, is favored. Nowadays, we see inventive, even savory hamantaschen fillings such as dates, cheese with red peppers and spinach, cranberries and sage, chocolate and even Nutella.
While hamantaschen are essential, variations are popular. Layered poppy seed pastries stack layers of a poppy seed filling and a cinnamon-walnut filling between sheets of pastry. The result is traditional Purim flavors with a lot less work than shaping individual pastries. Nut and seed treats are another less labor-intensive option; they omit the pastry step altogether. Easiest of all, no-bake nut balls have the flavor of Purim and you can make them while the hamantaschen are baking.
In this pandemic year, there won’t be customary gatherings to read the Purim story from its source, the Book of Esther. However, hamantaschen have always been delivered “from a distance” and will be a welcome taste of tradition in this non-traditional year.
Developed by Eastern European Jews centuries ago, hamantaschen are made from either cookie dough or yeast dough and usually are stuffed with poppy seed or fruit fillings.
YieldsMakes 24 cookies
Hamantaschen, the quintessential Purim cookie representing Haman's pocket, hat or ear (depending on whom you ask), is traditionally stuffed with poppy seed or dried fruit fillings.
Time1 hour 20 minutes
YieldsMakes about 3 dozen cookies
The quintessential Purim treat is hamantaschen. Many bakeries now offer hamantaschen with a variety of fillings, such as chocolate, halvah and even dulce de leche.
Time6 hours 30 minutes
YieldsMakes about 3 dozen hamantaschen
Packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, these are among the most healthful mishloach manot you can make.
YieldsMakes 12 pieces
Shira Levy of Florida makes these nut balls for mishloach manot every Purim and often throughout the year.
YieldsMakes 30 pieces
These perfect-for-Purim treats feature both a poppy seed and a walnut filling layered between sheets of pastry.
YieldsMakes 24 pastries