3 ratings

Grandma's Hamantaschen Recipe

This versatile Purim cookie is worth making any time
Classic hamantaschen recipe for Purim and any time - The Daily Meal

Haman, legend has it, was a bad guy who wore a bad hat. He is remembered and reviled on the holiday Purim in story, song and snack. Rare is the leader — good or bad — who has a pastry named for his hat. Haman's crime (plotting to do in ancient Persia's Jews) figures in a complicated plot retold in a complicated story called the megillah, synonym for complicated. His hat kept it simple: a neat triangle, now neatly tied to treachery.

At Purim we read the megillah, we tell the story of bad Haman and his bad hat. We fold circles of dough over prune or poppy-seed or apricot filling, shaping glistening, buttery triangles, which are not bad at all. In fact, they're delicious. Which might explain the enduring power of the whole megillah.

This recipe is adapted from my grandmother, Etta Hoffmann and was originally published in The Chicago Tribune.


Equipment needed: 11-cup food processor, baking sheet, parchment paper


For the hamantaschen

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cubed
  • 8 Ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 Cups apricot filling (recipe below) or jam

For the apricot filling:

  • 3 Cups water
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Pound dried apricots
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
  • 1 Tablespoon almond liqueur


For the hamantaschen

Step 1: Set up your food processor (this recipe fits nicely in an 11-cup model. If yours isn't that roomy, make pastry in 2 batches). Measure 2 cups flour and 3 tablespoons sugar into the food processor.

Step 2: Add 2 sticks worth of butter cubes and 8 ounces cream-cheese chunks. Pulse until pastry comes together in clumps; do not over-process.

Step 3: Gently shape two disks; wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or more.

Step 4: Preheat oven to 350F. 

Step 5: Roll 1 pastry disk out on a floured surface until about 1/4-inch thick. Punch out circles, using a 3-inch fluted cookie cutter. Transfer circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Step 6: Drop 1 teaspoon apricot filling (or jam) into the center of each circle.

Step 7: Fold edges of circle in over the filling, forming a triangle-shaped cookie, with apricot center showing. Press corners to seal. Repeat with remaining dough.

Step 8: Bake until just golden, about 15 minutes. Cool. Enjoy.

For the apricot filling:

Step 1: Measure 3 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 pound dried apricots, the juice of 1 lemon and 1 split and scraped vanilla pod into a large saucepan.

Step 2: Heat to a boil, lower to a low bubble and let cook, partially covered, stirring now and then, until very thick, 1 1/2 hours (adding more water if need be). Stir in 1 tablespoon almond liqueur. Cool completely.