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Yanir Mrejen
11 February 2021

Purim Recipe: Hamantaschen

With the Jewish festival of Purim around the corner, we wanted to share a delicious recipe for the sweet triangular pastry, ‘hamantaschen’ that’s traditionally eaten on the day. The tradition to eat hamantaschen on Purim appears to have begun in Europe, as the name is derived from two German words: mohn (poppy seed) and taschen (pockets). Around the late 1500s, German Jews dubbed them Hamantaschen or ‘Haman's pockets’, a reference to the villain in the biblical Book of Esther, Haman, who sought to destroy the Jewish people in Persia in the 5th century BCE. Another popular explanation for the triangular shape is that it represents Haman's three-cornered hat.

Chef Yanir Mrejen (who will be joining us when we open in 2022) has shared his favourite hamantaschen recipe with the customary poppy seed filling, as well as a vegan version so you can give them a go. If you need any help folding the hamantaschen, check out this handy guide from Tori Avey.
Hamantaschen Recipe by Yanir Mrejen:
Ingredients:

For the dough:
200g cold butter cut into cubes
350g plain flour
100g sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 egg yolks
60ml brandy
Lemon zest (optional)

Poppy seed filling:
1 cup of milk
3/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons honey
200g ground poppy seeds
25g butter

Method:

Mix all the dough ingredients, except for the egg yolks and brandy, in a food processor until the mixture looks crumbly.

Add the egg yolks and brandy into the mixture and let the food processor work it through to make a smooth dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the fridge to chill for two hours.

While the dough is in the fridge you can make your poppy seed filling by combining all the ingredients, except for the butter, in a saucepan and heating for three minutes until it forms a thick mixture. After three minutes, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the butter. Leave the mixture to the side until it's time to use as the filling.

Preheat the oven to 180°c and take the dough out of the fridge to rest for five minutes, as it’s easier to fold the hamantaschen when the dough isn’t very cold from the fridge.

Sprinkle some flour onto your surface and roll the dough out until it’s 3mm thick. Cut the dough into circles using a pastry cutter or the rim of a drinking glass. Place circles 5cm apart onto baking trays lined with baking paper.

Add a heaped teaspoon of your poppy seed topping into the middle of the dough, and fold each side upwards to make a triangle shape. Pinch each point gently to seal the topping in, leaving about 1 inch of the filling exposed.

Bake for 15-20min until the hamantaschen turns a slightly golden colour. Remove from the oven and leave to chill. Finish by dusting some icing sugar on top!
A note from Yanir: "To make the poppy seed filling vegan, simply substitute the milk for a non-dairy alternative, the butter for margarine and the honey for golden syrup. Equally delicious!"
For vegan hamantaschen:

Ingredients:
200g cold margarine cut into cubes
300g plain flour
100g icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of water

Mix all the ingredients, except for the water, into a food processor until it forms a crumbly dough. Stream the water into the mixer until fully incorporated into the dough. If the mixture still feels too dry, add a little more water. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave in the fridge for two hours. Follow the instructions above for baking.
Poppy Seed Hamantaschen
© Jamie Geller. Hamantaschen with a poppy seed filling.