It's that time of year again...Purim is a-comin' with great fanfare and, of course, the ever-popular hamantaschen.

When I shared my chocolate-dipped cream cheese hamantaschen recipe two years ago, I mentioned that I had never actually tasted the traditional poppy seed filled ones. Scandalous, I know! But I'm happy to report that I've mended my ways and hereby present you with the ultimate traditional hamantasch recipe.

You'll need to make the filling and let it cool before using it in the hamantaschen. The filling recipe may seem intimidating when you first read it, but read it carefully a second time and you'll find it's not as difficult as it sounds. While it's cooling, you can make the dough.

This dough is quick to make and easy to work with. If you don't like poppy seed filling, or if you'd like some variety, you can use other fillings as well. Strawberry and apricot jam have become very traditional. Prune lekvar is also traditional. Some people also like to fill them with chocolate or peanut butter. Get creative and have fun—there's a whole world of Hamantaschen out there!

One of the most common questions I get asked this time of year, is how to make sure the hamantaschen don't open up while baking. So, some tips:

  • Keep the dough on the thinner side.
  • Do not overfill the hamantaschen.
  • Work patiently and consistently. Don't rush through. Take the extra 15 seconds to make sure the edges are tightly pinched.
  • Close the hamantaschen up more than you think you need to. See mine—I left a pretty small opening.
  • Be careful not to add too much flour to the dough, because that will make the dough drier and harder to seal.

Dough Ingredients

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2-2½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Dough Directions

  1. Mix the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.
  2. Add 1 cup of flour and the baking powder. Mix.
  3. Add the remaining flour until the dough forms a soft, but not sticky ball.
  4. Roll out the dough and cut out circles.
  5. Put a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle.
  6. Gently fold the sides and pinch shut tightly.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes on 350°F.

Yields: 20 Hamantaschen

Filling Ingredients

Note: Very closely based on Tori Avey's recipe

  • ¾ cup poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil or margarine (butter for dairy - but make sure to tell people they are dairy!)
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 egg

Filling Directions

  1. Beat the egg in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Melt the coconut oil/butter/margarine in a small saucepan. Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar, and honey, and simmer over a low flame until the sugar is melted.
  3. Pour half the mixture into a cup or small bowl.
  4. Very slowly drizzle the hot mixture from the cup/bowl into the beaten egg, whisking constantly.
  5. Now slowly pour the egg mixture back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly.
  6. Simmer the mixture for 3-4 minutes until it thickens. Remove from fire.
  7. Whisk in the poppy seeds and refrigerate until fully cooled before using.

Wondering why Hamantaschen are traditional Purim fare? You may have heard that Haman, the evil villain from the Purim story, was said to wear a triangular hat or to have had triangular ears. As you can read in our Purim Myths and Facts, there is no evidence for either of these theories. The pastry's symbolism is more about the filling than the shape. While living in the palace, Esther subsisted on seeds to keep from eating anything non-kosher. Hence, the seed-filled pastries (although nowadays other fillings are common too).

For a deeper look at the message behind the Hamantasch, read The Secret of the Hamantasch, Holy Hamantaschen, and Mystic Purim Pastries.

What's your favorite hamantasch filling? Let us know in the comments.