Celebrating Modern Jewish Living Through Food, Tradition, and Family
Just about the easiest (and most scrumptious) Hamantaschen recipe you’ll ever find.
The Backstory: Purim is a wonderful time of year – we dress up, make some noise and enjoy these delicious cookies. More of the Backstory after the recipe…
- 4 cups dried apricots
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest grated
- 1 tsp orange zest grated
- 1 cup egg wash
Soak the apricots. Place the apricots in a medium bowl. Add boiling water to cover and set aside to soak for 1 hour.
Make the filling. Drain the apricots in a colander, stirring to eliminate the surface water, and then blot dry on paper towels. Transfer them to a chopping board or bowl and finely chop. Mix the apricots, walnuts if using, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl, stirring until well combined.
Mix the dough. Whisk together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk together the eggs, oil, 1 cup of the sugar, and the lemon zest and orange zest in a large bowl, whisking until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is creamy and foamy. Sift the flour mixture into the egg mixture, stirring together with a wooden spoon until combined and a dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Make the cookies. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured board to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out 3-inch circles (use a biscuit cutter). Place a generous spoonful of filling in the center of each circle, then fold up three sides so the cookie looks like a 3-cornered hat, pinching the dough edges together but leaving the center open.Gather the dough scraps and reroll; cut and fill in the same way.
Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets and lightly brush with the egg wash, which will give them a nice color.
Bake until the pastry is golden brown—20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the cookies from the baking sheets to wire racks to cool.
- If you don't have a large enough biscuit cutter, use a wide-rimmed glass to create perfect circles.
- Instead of oil, you can also use butter for the dough.
…The Backstory continues: These triangular-shaped delights are named after the biblical villain, Haman, who plotted to murder all the Jews in the Persian kingdom. Thankfully, Queen Esther and Mordechai foiled Haman’s plans, which led to his execution.
The Yiddish term Hamantaschen means “Haman’s pockets,” which relates to the bribe money Haman paid in exchange for permission to kill all the Jewish people, while the cookies’ shape is modeled after the evil man’s three-cornered hat which he was said to have worn. In Israel, however, Hamantaschen are known as oznay Haman or “Haman’s ears,” after the alleged custom of cutting off criminals’ ears (his were cut off before he was killed).
By either name, these biscuits are eaten to celebrate the holiday and the Jewish victory, thanks to Queen Esther and Mordechai. They can be filled with fruit marmalade, cheese or poppy seeds. The generous use of nuts and seeds during this holiday represents Queen Esther’s diet while she was in the King’s palace.
While they may seem difficult to make, I can assure you that they aren’t and they definitely taste better than store-bought versions. Enjoy the festive time of Purim and make the holiday even more fun by getting the whole family involved in making these scrumptious cookies.