Hamantaschen Makeover: A Twist On Tradition

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a twist on hamantashen

I first learned how to make hamentaschen with my grandmother, who based all her measurements on empty yartzeit (memorial) candle holders. Three glasses of flour, one of sugar and so on. Thankfully I don’t have memorial candles on hand these days, so I make use of proper measuring cups when baking.

Cream Cheese Hamantashen

But that’s not all that’s changed.  Perhaps it is the globalization of kosher food that has inspired a generation of bakers that are looking for something new, or perhaps it is my inner middle child that likes to shake things up and make people question:

‘A hamantasch with olives and pepper? Goat cheese and pears? Is it possible?’ That is after all the point of tradition, isn’t it? A bit of change might awaken the inner child and get us to explore the origin of the tradition and how it has evolved.  According to Shmil Holland, a food historian and restaurateur in Israel, we first heard about a pastry called montash in 16th century Germany where mohn meant poppy seeds and tasch meant a pocket. When the Jews left Germany for Eastern Europe in the late middle ages they took the poppy seed parcels with them and made adaptations of the original version of the recipe for hamantaschen, making them the most popular Purim cookie to this day.

In Hebrew the triangular cookies are called oznei Haman (literally translated; ears of Haman), perhaps because Haman’s ears drooped into
a triangular fold, symptomatic of the devastation over his demise. A well known reason for the triangular shaped cookies is Haman’s famous
triangular shaped hat.  Poppy seeds are a traditional hamantaschen filling, as well as fruit jams and other sweets.

Try these new options for a little surprise this Purim.

Cardamom Scented Hamantaschen with Pear & Goat Cheese Filling

Roasted Pepper & Olive Hamantaschen

Hamantaschen Filled with Chocolate Cream

To see these recipes order the 2012 late Winter/Purim Issue HERE

Photography by: Sasha Gitin

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As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine Purim 2012 – Subscribe Now.