Hamentaschen are triangular-shaped pastries that are traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
"Hamentaschen" is a Yiddish word literally meaning "Haman's pockets." Haman is the villain in the Purim story, which appears in the Biblical Book of Esther. See more on Purim here.
It is traditional for the Jewish people to eat hamantaschen on Purim as part of the celebration of the holiday, which commemorates how Jews escaped extermination by Haman.
One explanation for the triangular shape of these pastries is that Haman wore a three-cornered hat. Another explanation is that the three corners represent Queen Esther's strength and the founders of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Popular fillings for hamantaschen are fruit marmalade, cheese or poppy seeds. The poppy seeds are sometimes said to represent all the bribe money Haman collected.
Hamantaschen are also called "oznay Haman," which is the Hebrew for "Haman's ears" , coming from the old practice of cutting off criminals' ears before they were executed by hanging.
The number of Hamentaschen this recipe makes depends on the size of your cutting tool and the thickness you roll, but a 4¼ inch cutting tool and medium rolled thickness will get 20-24 cookies from this recipe.
Traditional fillings are poppy seed and prune, but apricot, apple puree, pineapple preserves, and cherry pie filling all work well. You can also try some with Nutella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) - it may be a bit dry that way, but if you're a chocoholic it'll be great either way!
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