If you haven’t heard of hamentaschen then I think you are in for a treat. These hamentaschen are triangular soft pastries flavoured with orange and filled with prune butter/ purée. The key thing about hamentaschen is the shape. They can be filled with different things – prunes are traditional, as is a poppy seed or apricot filling. Modern fillings include Nutella and chocolate chips.
Hamentaschen are traditionally made for the Jewish festival of Purim. Purim celebrates the triumph of Queen Esther, who confronted her husband, the King of Persia, when the Jews were threatened with genocide under the direction of an anti Semitic adviser to the King – the wicked Haman. The story is explained well on this archived BBC webpage. Haman is definitely the villain in this story, and the hamentaschen are supposed to represent Haman’s triangular shaped ears – really?! The shape is also said to represent his three cornered hat. Purim is celebrated in March usually – anyway, before Passover. So this is not really the right time of year. However I found a packet of prunes in the cupboard and thought I would make some anyway. They are easy to make and look and taste very good.
The pastry is soft and almost cake like, because it contains eggs and raising agent. You can make the pastry with butter or oil. The oil version is very easy to make and use, and that’s what I did this time.
I found the recipe on this lovely website by Tori Avey. The link will take you to the oil based pastry, but you can find links on the page to the butter version as well as different ideas for fillings.
The whole process was very easy. Even folding the pastry into the triangle shapes was easy! I think the shape, with the filling showing in the middle, is very attractive.
I’ve made these before many years ago and used a prune filling then too. I think next time I will try an apricot filling. In fact I guess you could used any thick jam, as long as it could be contained within the edges of the pastry.
I hope you have fun trying these if you have never made them before! If you have a favourite filling let me know in the comments below.