Mar 072012


Do you love hamentaschen? I’m betting you do.

I sure do, but I’m not at all fond of the over-sweet, stodgy hamentaschen flooding grocery stores and supermarkets right now. It’s so worthwhile making my own, that I’m going to interrupt my pre-Purim baking marathon to post this recipe. It’s a real, old-fashioned hamentasch with a delicate cookie crust. The filling is up to you. I’ve kept it pareve to accommodate those eating meat meals on Purim day. But I must say that these hamentaschen are fabulous filled with dulce de leche.

Old-Fashioned Hamentaschen

Source: Jewish Cookery, by Leah W. Leonard

Yield: about 24 hamentaschen

Preheat oven to 375° F – 190° C.

Ingredients for Dough:

2/3 cup margarine

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted flour


Blend margarine and sugar. Add egg and mix to creaminess.

Add water and vanilla. Stir in flour till you obtain a dough you can gather into a ball.

Place dough ball in a plastic bag, close it well, and chill 2 hours to overnight.

Roll out on a floured surface till the dough is 1/8″ thin. It’s convenient to cut the dough up into quarters or halves and work with those smaller amounts.

Cut into rounds. The size of your cookie will depend on the size of the rounds, of course. With a biscuit cutter, I made 24 hamentaschen.

Place a level teaspoon of filling in the center of each cookie round. Mrs. Leonard’s instructions are that the filling should be “the size of a hazelnut,” referring to fruit and nut fillings.

Pinch the sides of each filled cookie together to form a triangle that shows the filling in the center.

Place on baking-paper lined sheet and bake about 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a rack to cool.

Filling: Any firm jam or preserves. I used a sugar-free apricot jam in this batch. But here’s another very old-fashioned European filling, also from Jewish Cookery.

Poppyseed Filling

2 cups ground poppyseeds

1 cup water

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 eggs.

Combine seeds, water, honey, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat till thick, stirring to avoid scorching. Allow to cool before adding eggs. Beat thoroughly and if the added eggs thin the filling out, return the pan to heat and cook, stirring, 1-2 minutes longer.


Avoid watery fillings as these will force the cookie open and spill.

Plan to bake these cookies as soon as they’re filled and shaped into hamentaschen. If held over too long, their walls will collapse in the oven. As I found out when photographing them before baking.

The chilling period is necessary to create the firm yet delicate consistency of the cookie. Don’t neglect it.

raw hamentaschen
These hamentaschen are just special. Enjoy, and Purim Sameach!


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  17 Responses to “Hamentaschen Recipe”

  1. Yay, Miriam! Thanks for posting these. I am having trouble finding a hamantaschen recipe that works with here in Israel (my American cookbooks’ recipes are not converting quite right). Very happy you posted this. Good Purim!!!

  2. Great, Ariella, I’m glad to have helped!

  3. Made these over Purim, and the cookies were wonderful! I went with a bit lower temp for cooking them, which worked well. The filling wasn’t my favorite version, but perfectly fine. THank you so much for helping me find a perfect base for hamentaschen!

  4. When you fill them with dulce de leche, what does it do in the oven? Does it tend to become runny? Do you first mix it with nuts or bread crumbs?

  5. Amanda, thank you for telling me! I must say, it’s the first hamentaschen cookie dough I’ve really liked. Very old-fashioned ones used to be yeasted. I haven’t seen those around for years. This one though is so delicate and good, it’s worth the time chilling in the fridge. The dough that is, not me. :)

  6. Faye, I hadn’t thought of that because I used my own dulce de leche, which I cooked down to a quite solid consistency. If you keep cooking and stirring, it becomes almost cheese-like and granular. I haven’t eaten commercial dulce de leche in a long time, but I recall that it has glucose added for smoothness. Then I can see where it would run all over the place when hot. I don’t know what choices you have in the US – if there’s more than one variety of dulce. But a good firm one acts just like any other jam. If in doubt, I’d use your ideas and mix it with dry cake crumbs or ground nuts.

  7. Faye-instead of the jarred dulche-de-leche, try the hard but chewy square caramels. they melt nicely without getting too runny. I put a little coconut in there also to keep things in place. really yummy. you can also turn the oven down just a bit for more delicate fillings.

  8. This comment comes woefully late, but I just wanted to thank you for the terrific recipe! I took these to our first-ever Purim party, and they were a huge hit. I even got accused of buying them from a bakery. :D

  9. Christy, that just about makes my morning. It makes me happy that this old-fashioned recipe is still alive. And of course, happier yet that it was a hit for you.

  10. […] cupcake-decorating centerpieces for each table (my chocolate cupcake recipe is simply this delicious devils food cake in cupcake-form) Even after baking hundreds of these Purim cookies at work, I still felt inspired to make our own at home. I based my recipe off of Miriam Kresh's, of Israeli Kitchen. […]

  11. The ones I made this year where a bit floury, I will be using your recipe next. My mother is in Israel for Purim and is still there visiting friends Im sure she had her fill of Hametaschens.

  12. Can you make these ahead and freeze them. Would like to make some for a family get together soon.

  13. Yes, these hamentaschen are fine to freeze. Enjoy!

  14. Making these again this year! Used butter last time, which worked fine. Am I correct in thinking there is no “healthy” margarine here in Israel?

  15. As far as I know, Ariella, there ain’t no such animal anywhere. There’s one that’s made with olive oil, but the bulk is canola or corn, I think. I say I think, because I really avoid margarine and when forced to use it for one social reason or another, I buy Mazola. But butter is better.

  16. Thanks for the response, Miriam. I think I will use butter again :) Happy Adar!

  17. […] is feasting – if you read the story, you’ll notice there are lots of parties in it. Hamentaschen are three-cornered filled cookies associated with the […]

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