Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Recipes

Sweet, Savory and Asian-Inspired Hamantaschen

Since being aurally haunted by hundreds of toy noise makers during one Purim celebration in my childhood, Purim has been banned from my top 10 list of favorite holidays (making way for more quiet and civilized holidays where you soberly eat matzo ball soup with your family). In my wimpy eyes its only point of redemption is hamantaschen. This year, I have reinterpreted the triangle cookies two ways — one sweet and Asian inspired and the other savory and filled with delicious rich cheese.

My favorite varieties of classic hamantaschen can be found at a few hidden deli counters in New York and in care packages from the mother of a dear college friend, Brian. When we were in college, Brian’s apartment was good for three things: throwing wild patio parties, eating spray can cheese, and hosting impromptu hamantaschen eating parties as soon as his Purim care package arrived. His mother’s hamantaschen were soft, doughy, slightly smashed from the shipping process, and swimming in powdered sugar (perfect for the morning after those legendary patio parties). So when I decided to make hamantaschen this year — with a personal twist — the obvious starting point was tapping Brian’s mom for her recipe.

One of these recipes draws on my Asian heritage and uses black sesame seeds in place of the traditional poppy seed filling. Black sesames are common in Asian cooking and have a smokier and nuttier flavor than their white counterparts. The other is an homage to my cheese and spinach obsessions and is as perfect for an appetizer or party hors d’oeuvre as it is sacrilege.

Black Sesame Hamantaschen

Dough:
Based on Betty Doman’s Hamantaschen, courtesy of Anne Schulman

2 sticks butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar, for dusting

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter, cream cheese, egg yolk, and salt. Add flour, half a cup at a time, to form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.

Filling:
1 cup black sesame seeds (if you can’t find them at your local grocery store, many Asian grocery stores carry them)
pinch of salt
cocoa powder
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup whole milk

In a spice grinder, grind sesame seeds to a fine powder. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking continuously until mixture thickens (5-10 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Assembly:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To assemble the Hamantaschen, work with half of the dough at a time (the other half should stay wrapped in the fridge) and roll it out to 1/4 inch on a surface that has been coated with powdered sugar. Cut into 3-inch circles (turning a glass upside down is a good way to do this), place two teaspoons of filling in the center, moisten edges with water, and pinch into a 3-cornered shape.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Savory Spinach and Gruyere Hamantaschen

Dough:
2 cups grated gruyere cheese
½ stick of butter, cold and cubed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup cold water

In a food processor or with a pastry cutter, combine first five ingredients to form a mealy mixture. Add water one tablespoon at a time to form a dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Filling:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cups chopped spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated parmesan
1 egg

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add onion and cook until transparent, about 5-7 minutes. Add spinach, salt and pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, drain any liquid that gathers. In a medium bowl, combine parmesan and egg. Add cooled spinach mixture.

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To assemble the Hamantaschen, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Cut into 3-inch circles, place two teaspoons of filling in the center, moisten edges with water, and pinch into a 3-cornered shape.

Bake for 12-18 minutes.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.