Hamantaschen is a pastry traditionally served during the Jewish holiday of Purim. “Hamantaschen” is the Yiddish word meaning "Haman’s pockets". But probably originally it was from the German "mohn" + "taschen" meaning "poppyseed pockets". Poppyseed cookies were very popular in that region and is still one of the most common and traditional fillings for a Hamentaschen cookie. In Hebrew Hamantaschen are called אוזני המן or "Haman's ears" - in some accounts it is said to be reminiscent of the practice of cutting of the ears of criminals. Haman is the villain in the story of Purim, who was thought to wear a three pointed hat. Jews eat hamantaschen on Purim as part of the celebration to remember how Jews escaped Haman’s evil plans.
I grew up eating mohn cookies (poppyseed cookies). They are a classic Jewish type of cookie. My Dad would bring them home from the local Jewish deli. I always loved the very specific taste of poppyseeds and the bit of crunch it gave the cookies. I also liked that the cookies themselves were not to sweet. This year I started making hamantaschen before the holidays because my son goes to a Jewish school where they are already starting to learn about the holiday of Purim.
My daughter requested classic hamantaschen with poppyseed filling. But my son asked for date filling. My favourite is actually prune filling. You could really fill them with anything you want - jam, chocolate chips...! But I'm somewhat of a conservative traditionalist when it comes to holiday cooking. Nowadays you can find all sorts of hamantaschen with mint filling and chocolate pastry or chocolate filling etc... My favourite traditional hamantaschen growing up was walnuts, honey and cinnamon. But since my son has an anaphylactic allergy to nuts no more walnuts or pecans. I switched it up to pumpkin and sunflower seeds with raw honey and cinnamon. Delicious!
For the cookie dough I used coconut and arrowroot starch in place of regular flour. They're also egg-free cookies. So safe for people with nut, egg, gluten and wheat allergies or sensitivities. The dough is really almost a shortbread dough with the amount of butter used...my favourite!
Hamantaschen dough 1 cup coconut flour 1/2 cup arrowroot starch 5 TBSP maple syrup or honey 2 tsp ground cardamom zest of 1 orange 1 cup pasture raised or organic cultured butter, room temp pinch sea salt
Filling: 1/2 cup organic prunes zest of 1/2 lemon 1/4 cup chopped pumpkin & sunflower seeds 1 tbsp unpasturized honey 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Mix all dough ingredients together by hand until butter is all blended in evenly throughout mixture. If the dough is too dry put a very small amount of juice from the orange in the dough as needed. Roll into 2 balls, place in bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Use arrowroot powder to sprinkle on rolling surface and on dough if it is too sticky. Gently flatten dough ball by hand then place on rolling surface. Make sure there is enough arrowroot powder on surface and on rolling pin so it doesn't stick to either surface. Gently roll out dough until ~1/8 of an inch thick.
- Use medium round cookie cutter or small mason jar lid to cut out circles. Repeat until finished dough of both balls. Place circles on a silat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet or two. Preheat oven to 350F.
- To make the prune filling, chop prunes and place in small saucepan on stove with lemon zest and a tbsp of water. Cover and simmer on low heat, checking and mixing often until a mushy paste. Let cool.
- To make seed & honey filling, chop seeds and mix with honey and cinnamon.
- Use teaspoon to spoon small amounts of filling 1-2 tsp per round cookie.
- Gently pinch edges of dough circles to form a triangle. Make sure that dough doesn't crack since it is quite delicate without egg. Repair any cracks with your fingers.
- Place cookie sheet(s) in oven for 10-15 minutes (until edges are slightly golden). Let cool completely before moving. Can put it in fridge to cool.I find that the hamantaschen taste even better the day after, but if your are really anxious to eat them cool them for a short while in the freezer. Enjoy!