“Hamantaschen” is a Yiddish word meaning “Haman’s pockets.” Haman is the villain in the Purim story, which appears in the Biblical Book of Esther. Jews eat hamantaschens on Purim as part of the celebration of the holiday, which commemorates how the Jews escaped Haman’s despicable plans. However, Queen Esther and Mordechai discover Haman’s plot and are able to foil it. In the end, Haman is executed on the gallows he planned to use on Mordechai. One explanation for the triangular shape of this pastry is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat.
½ cup butter 2 tsps. baking powder
1 cup sugar 2 Tbsp. milk
1 egg 1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar, and then add egg. Mix flour and baking powder together, and add to creamed mixture. Add milk, the remaining flour, and mix in vanilla extract. Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate overnight.
Pinch off a piece of dough to form balls the size of a very small apple. Roll out or pat out each piece on waxed paper to form a circle ¼ inch think. Place a portion of the filling in the center of each round. Bring three sides of the circle together at the center to form a triangle. Pinch the edges together to form a slight seam or ridge. Bake on a grease baking tin at 375 degrees until golden brown, approx. 15 minutes. Makes 24
Poppy Seed Filling:
1 cup poppy seeds 1Tbsp. sugar
¼ cup honey pinch of salt
½ cup finely chopped almonds ½ cup water
Pour boiling water over poppy seeds and let stand until cool; drain. Pound seeds well. (If they are large they can be run through a food grinder.) Cook together poppy seeds, sugar, honey, salt and water over moderate heat until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in chopped almonds. Cool.
1 lb. prunes, pitted 1 cup raisins
1 Tbsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. lemon rind, grated
½ cup sugar 1 Tbsp. honey
Soak prunes overnight in cold water or for two hours in hot water. Drain. Chop prunes and raisins, and then mix all ingredients together thoroughly.