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PurimHamentaschen Recipe

Hamentaschen Recipe

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Last Updated on November 23, 2021

Traditional Eastern-European Yeast Dough Hamentaschen Recipe

My grandmother’s recipe


Purim is fast approaching and Hammentaschen or Oznei Hamman (as we call them in Israel) can be bought on almost every street corner.  Around this time,  I long for my Purim favorite from the “old country”.  Like many Eastern European Jews, my family left Lithuania in early 1900’s and made their way to South Africa. My grandmother was a real “balaboste” or homemaker and a wonderful baker.   She used to make Hamentaschen (a.k.a. Hammentaschen, Homentashen) with a yeast dough unlike the biscuit dough we get here in Israel.  She would tell me that In the old days she had to mince the “Mon” (Heb: Pereg and Eng: Poppy seed), cook it, sweeten it and who knows what else, to prepare the filling.  Today this task is simplified; just buy some ready-made, poppy seed filling which is available in most supermarkets.  If you cannot find ready made poppy seed filling, you can add minced poppy seed to date filling.

When my grandmother gave her recipe, handwritten on a piece of paper, to my mother she had added some notes to the recipe – her notes are added here in brackets.


4 cakes of yeast – 50g in total
½ pound butter (or ¼ pound butter + ½ pint cream)
1 pint of milk
6 extra-large eggs
6 very heaped cups flour
1 level cup of white sugar
1 level dessert spoon salt
4 dessert spoons oil


  1. Warm milk and butter to blood heat.
  2. In a large basin put flour (sifted), sugar, salt, beaten eggs and oil
  3. Crumble yeast into milk mixture and dissolve and then add to flour mixture
  4. Knead well using the minimum amount of flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the basin.  (The dough must be very soft).
  5. Dust the bottom of the basin with a little flour and coat the top of the dough with a little oil to prevent it from drying out.  Cover with baking paper and cling wrap (cloth).
  6. Place in a warm place (even on a hot water bottle) and allow to rise for about 1.5 hours, knead and allow to rise again for another half an hour.  (Make the dough at about 6:30pm, leave till 11pm, knead and allow to rise overnight)
  7. When the dough has risen, knead again and form a large ball.
  8. Divide the ball of dough into 60 equal sized balls (like a golf ball), dust lightly with flour.
  9. Knead each ball before rolling it out. Roll out into circles of about 3/8” thick.
  10. Place 1 rounded teaspoon of poppy seed filling in the center of the circle.  Pick up the dough on 3 sides and fold it into the center to form a triangle.
  11. Allow to rise on a greased baking sheet (in a warmer drawer for about 15 minutes).  When doubled in size (about 1 hour) paint with beaten egg and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
  12. Bake at 180 C  or 400 F until brown.

Chef’s Tips

  • Instead of poppy seed you can fill the hammentaschen with a cube of dark chocolate, some halva, nuts, jam or cinnamon and sugar.
  • If you want a parev version, use water or orange juice instead of milk and parev margarine instead of butter.  You can also substitute regular milk with soya milk or rice milk
  • After making these, I discovered that the cup my grandmother used to measure the flour in, must have been the size of a chamber pot!  I eventually used about 1.5kg of flour.
  • Instead of making all these dough balls and rolling them out individually, I discovered that if I rolled out a large amount of dough and cut out circular shapes with a large cookie cutter  (I actually used a beer mug), it cut my work load down tremendously.
  • This recipe yields 60 hammentaschen.  I had more than that and next time, I will cut the recipe in half.
  • Total preparation and clean-up time – 5 hours (whew!)
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