Tag Archives: Purim

Maple Pecan Hamentashen

Hamentashen are the traditional treat baked for the Jewish holiday of Purim, which, this year,  falls on Thursday March 1. The Festival of Purim commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in ancient (4th century BCE) Persia were saved from extermination.

The celebration of Purim will be bitter-sweet for me this year. Sweet because, well…. Hamentashen! Bitter because this will be my first Purim without my Aunt Carol. She passed away, suddenly, a few weeks ago. She is actually my husband’s aunt, but from the very first time I met her, over 36 years ago, she always made me feel like a part of the family. I miss her very much.

It was from Aunt Carol that I learned that all hamentashen didn’t come from a bakery. (I also learned that it is rude to stack dishes at the table when clearing.) Until I met her, I’d never had a homemade hamentashen. My reaction was not that dissimilar to when I found out, from my big sister Faith, that babies don’t come from the stork.

Every year, Aunt Carol and her sister-in-law, Aunt Jen, went into factory mode and produced vast quantities of tiny little triangles of dough filled with a prune and raisin filling, dipped in honey and walnuts. They shipped these hamantashen off to all their children, nieces and nephews across the universe. Sadly, Aunt Jen died about 26 years ago, but Aunt Carol soldiered on alone, continuing the tradition of making hamentashen for everyone in the family. We all looked forward to our little parcels in the mail. It’s possible that my addiction to online shopping is her fault. She conditioned me to get happy when boxes arrived in the mail.

I spent some very happy afternoons in Aunt Carol’s kitchen learning how to master hamentashen. The dough for this recipe is hers. The filling recipe for these hamentashen is my creation. While I love the traditional flavours of poppyseed and prune, I like to play with different flavour combos.A few years ago year I made Cinnamon Bun Hamentashen. Last year I baked Salted Caramel Apple Hamentashen, Poppy Seed Hamentashen and Dried Cherry and Pecan Hamentashen. 

I love the combo of maple and pecans. I blitzed some toasted pecans, maple butter and some cream cheese together to make this delicious filling. If you can’t find maple butter, a combo of brown sugar and maple syrup would be a good substitute. In the recipe link below, I give proportions. 

Once cooled, the baked hamentashen get a dip in a maple glaze and some finely chopped pecans.

Click here to print recipe for Maple Pecan Hamentashen.

Click here to print recipe for Aunt Carol’s Hamentashen.


Poppy Seed Hamentashen

bowl of hamentashenThis is the final instalment of my hamentashen treatise (see part 1 and part 2). Today we’re taking it old-school with the classic Poppy Seed Hamentashen. This is the hamentashen I grew up with. This recipe comes from Uri Scheft. These are the most popular hamentashen at Lehamim, his Tel Aviv bakery.All 3 on black trayMake sure you start with very fresh poppy seeds. You’ll need to grind them up a bit. I found that  my spice grinder was perfect for the task. ground poppyseedsThe poppy seeds get cooked down into a paste with some milk, sugar and butter. Lemon zest adds a perfect zing of freshness. making fillingI learned a great trick from Uri for keeping the hamentashen dough from getting soggy. A handful of cake or muffin crumbs absorb any moisture in the filling leading to hamentashen with a nice crisp bottom crust. I didn’t have any cake or muffin crumbs on hand, so I bought a package of 6 inexpensive white cupcakes at the supermarket, scraped off the icing and ground them up in the food processor to make crumbs. I let the crumbs sit out at room temperature for a few hours to let them dry out a bit. Extra crumbs can be stashed in a freezer bag for another day.making filling 2 I found it easiest to fill hamentashen if I first put the filling into a disposable piping bag.3 fillings

Click here to print recipe for Poppy Seed Hamentashen.

on black tray

Salted Caramel Apple Hamentashen

Salted Caramel Apple hamentashen 1FI’m not quite sure how I feel about the live-action remake of  Beauty and the Beast (to be released March 17). The original is time honoured and perfect. Frankly, I’m worried. Sometimes you shouldn’t mess with a classic. Remember Lindsay Lohan in the remake of Parent Trap? Jackie Chan as the updated Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid ? Billy Bob Thornton in Bad News Bears? Enough said.

But sometimes messing with the classics works. Traditional hamentashen are filled with either prune or poppyseed filling. In this updated version, apples are cooked down to a thick sauce. A big scoop of dulce de leche and a judicious sprinkling of salt are added and the resulting filling is quite sublime. I have to give credit for this filling to the talented blogger Tori Avey. It was her genius idea. I just took it and wrapped it in a buttery almond shortbread shell.with a latteGrating Applesapples cooked downadding dulce de leche

Click here to print recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Hamentashen.

with a latte 2

Dried Cherry and Pecan Hamentashen

with a cup of teaHamentashen are the traditional treat baked for the Jewish holiday of Purim, which falls on Sunday March 12 this year. Essentially, the Festival of Purim commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in ancient (4th century BCE) Persia were saved from extermination. If you’re curious to learn more about Purim, check out a more thorough post I wrote in 2012.

I’ve been busy creating  and this year I have 3 delicious hamentashen recipes to share with you over the next few days. Dried Cherry and Pecan, Poppyseed and Salted Caramel Apple. All 3 stacked 72dpiMy childhood Purim memories consist of store bought hamentashen. My mom bought them from Open Window Bakery in Toronto. They made two varieties, prune and poppyseed. My sisters and I vastly preferred the poppyseed filing. Home-made hamentashen didn’t enter my life until I got married. My husband’s aunts, Carol and Jenny, made their own hamentashen. Tender little triangles brimming with a prune-raisin filling and covered in honey and walnuts. I felt like I’d entered an alternate universe. But a universe I was thrilled to be indoctrinated into . All hamentashen should be topped with toasted nuts. Because, crunch!dried fruit in jarThis hamentashen is my twist on their classic recipe. I halved the amount of prunes in the filling and replaced it with dried cherries. The original strawberry jam was swapped out for sour cherry preserves. And then I went really rogue with the dough! I used a butter dough. Carol and Jenny’s hamentashen dough is made with oil, so if you’re looking for a dairy free option, Aunt Carol’s Hamentashen Dough is a great option.before choppingafter choppingThis dough recipe comes from Uri Scheft’s new book, Breaking Breads. It is essentially an almond shortbread cookie dough which gets rolled quite thin.

I created this video to show you how to fill and shape the hamentashen.

Bite through the crisp buttery almond shortbread shell to reveal the sweet-tart dried cherry filling. The honey-pecan topping make these hamentashen very special.Dipped

Click here to print recipe for Dried Cherry and Pecan Hamentashen.

5 hamentashen

A Joyous Purim

piled up 1

I recently discovered that Bed Bath and Beyond has their very own blog, called Above and Beyond. Who knew? Check out today’s issue to see yours truly featured as their guest blogger and read the full story! I was asked to write a guest post about the Jewish holiday Purim, which begins tomorrow (Saturday February 23) night.

I share with their readers how to make Hamentashen, the traditional triangular shaped cookie, filled with a dried fruit filling. My hamentashen recipe actually comes from my Aunt Carol. She shared their recipe and techniques with me. Her filling uses dried prunes, golden raisins, strawberry jam, lemon juice and almond extract.

If you are looking for something more modern to celebrate the holidays with check out my recipe for Cinnamon Bun Hamentashen from last year.

Or check out these very cool and modern hamentashen:

Candy Cane Hamentashen

Cinnamon Dulce de Leche Hamentashen

Chocolate Covered Hamentashen Pops