Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hamentaschen Recipe

Since a number of you asked yesterday, here is my Helene Eichler's hamentaschen recipe, courtesy of the Dor L'Dor (Generation to Generation) Cookbook put out by the South Palm Beach County (Florida) Jewish Federation several decades ago (I'm guessing, since my grandmother gave it to me nearly that long ago). This is one of those treasures of traditional community cooking - while most of the "regular" recipes are outdated or simply not something I'd ever want to make (not being a big fan of either schmaltz or 1970's style "healthy" processed convenience foods), for those old from-scratch holiday standbyes nothing beats a grandmother's recipe, unless it's an entire collection of grandmothers' recipes.
Here's Helene's, whoever she was, with my changes in parentheses:
2/3 C shortening (I used butter)
1/2 C sugar (I used demarara)
1 egg (I used an egg - ha ha fooled you)
3 Tbl milk or water (I used 1% milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C sifted flour (I used 1.5 C white flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat, but you could go half and half if no one in your family is Maya put off by the darker appearance of whole wheat.)
Cream the shortening and sugar together. Add egg and continue to beat until smooth. Add water/milk and vanilla and gradually mix in flour until a ball of dough is formed. Chill a few hours or overnight (or about 45 minutes in the freezer if you're like me and don't plan ahead). When ready, form the dough into 2-inch balls and roll out to about 1/8" thick circles. Place a dollop of filling in the center of the circle and bring the edges together to form a triangle, pinching the seams to seal any leaks.
Optional: brush tops with melted shortening or slightly beaten egg before baking. (I didn't bother with this step, I don't think it needs it.)
Bake 20-25 minutes at 350F (180C) until golden. Cool 5 minutes on tray before transferring to a wire rack.
Here's where Helene and I diverge - I used ordinary chocolate spread, the hands-down favorite of every Israeli schoolchild I've ever known. It's similar to Nutella but cheaper without the hazelnut component. All Israeli kids scarf this stuff down as a sandwich spread - except for mine, because their mean and rotten mother won't buy it for them. They have to get it at their afternoon program instead, which their mom feels is already quite often enough.)
Helene's more traditionally Ashkenazi (Eastern European Jewish) version*:
2 C poppy seeds (sorry, I hate poppy seed filling)
1 C water
1/2 C honey
1/4 C sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 eggs
Combine poppy seeds, water, honey and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring to prevent scorching. Let cool before adding eggs, beating in thoroughly. If the eggs make the filling too thin, return to the heat and cook while stirring for a minute or two.
* Note: Various fillings can be substituted for the poppy seed - jams, such as apricot, prune or cherry, are also traditional and work well. In Israel you also see halva as a filling, though as I said most children prefer chocolate.


Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing such suggestive post. I am going to try this recipe today. I feel online recipes truly make cooking easier.

Jill said...

I love your recipe! It looks so easy - and fun to do with the kids.

I've been totally MIA recently, but have been meaning to comment and say hello.

Your hamentashen were gorgeous - and now I can't wait to try this! Of course, I do have nutella here - it's the one thing my girls really associate with Israel. In the 7 months we've been here, we just finished up our first jar of it... so I we use it as sparingly as you do it sounds!

Anonymous said...

Yummy yummy,

Nutella, seems to be used a lot these day's.
I don't remember ever seeing it when I was a child... :-(
(It must be modern) lol

Leora said...

Poppy seed always seems so old-fashioned, adult and Eastern European. I only know a few adults that really like the poppy seed kind.

My kids like chocolate chips as filling. Certainly makes it easy, as the chips don't leak. Leakage seems to be a hamantaschen recipe problem, especially when I made them with cherry pie filling, back in the olden days before fussy kids of my own.

Nancy said...

Oh yummmmmmmmm!
And I just promised myself today I was starting a diet!

I can smell them from here =)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

OMG, Halvah filling?? Orgasmic, maybe even over chocolate (probably because I get chocolate WAY more often than halvah).

Looks like no fancy Purim parties over here; we're heading to a bris!

Mojo said...

Sounding more like baklava all the time! 'Cept without the filo leaves. And the intensive labor. Saw some of these on Ilana-davita's blog (which I probably spelled wrong, but you know who I mean). I could go for some of this I think.

Robin said...

And without the nuts and the honey ;-). They actually look and taste quite different in real life.

Baila said...

Dang! I bought the nutella at the higher price, I thought the stuff you have in your picture would run...oh well, remind me next year, okay?

also that poppy seed stuff makes me sick--in yiddish it's called "mon"--yech!

Anonymous said...

i am SO going to make this! already printed the recipe out! thanks!

Daryl said...

I am with you .. feh to poppy seed fillings .. my fav used to apricot filling .. oh how I wish my Grandmother had written her recipes down .. 0nce when I asked her to make something she said 'bubbala, its a pinch of this, a pinch of that .. but she said it in Yiddish which I neither speak nor write ..

Phyllis Sommer said...

mmm...hamantashen. my mom made mountains for us, they were waiting when we got home. and i just got roped into making more this weekend. my fave tip for hamantashen is to spread rainbow sprinkles on the board before rolling them out - it rolls sprinkles into the dough and looks really cool. totally discovered this by accident:-)

Claremont First Ward said...

Looks delicious!

followthatdog said...

I'm so making these. Thanks for the recipe. I prefer the cherry filling myself.

deedee said...

I would definitely like the honey and poppy seed version.
My girls eat an awful lot of Nutella...hope they don't develop a hazelnut allergy :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great recipe. My kids have never had Nutella...I'm so out of style!!!

RivkA with a capital A said...

I make hamentaschen about every three years. It takes me that long to forget how traumatized I was....

Libby's Library said...

Just what I more way to eat Nutella!

Jientje said...

Thanks for the recipe, I printed it!

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Yum, these look so good! Do you know I never heard of chocolate spread until my last visit to Israel (15 years ago), where it was served with biscuits/cookies/crackers for a coffee/tea break as a group of us were on a jeep tour of the Judean wilderness. Our guide, Gila, initiated all us ignorant American tourists into the joys of chocolate spread. These days I buy it at the World Market...better than Nutella, to my taste buds anyway.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I'm looking for something to do for Purim (although I still have to figure out what Purim is!) and I think my kids will love this! I remember the chocolate spread from when I visited my friend in Holland---the kids there eat it all the time too! I'll have to improvise a bit. . .but, thanks for posting this!