Tuesday, February 27, 2007

What Is The Origin Of The Pastry-Dough Hamantaschen?

(Picture by Pam Reiss)

My wife grew up eating soft pastry-dough hamantaschen that resembled a danish, while I was used to the cookie dough hamantaschen. Interestingly, in a discussion with my wife's father, he mentioned that his Polish-born mother would always make the pastry dough hamantaschen for Purim.

While no one seems to have ever heard of these pastry dough hamantaschen, my wife recently was able to find them at a kosher bakery along with the cookie dough type.

Does anyone know what their origin was? They do not appear to be an American invention.


At February 27, 2007 at 9:17:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Grandma Gussie (my father's mother) was born in Galicia in the late 1800's. Her mother-in-law taught her Hungarian-style cooking.

Every year, she made delicious prune-filled hamantaschen for us all that were soft, sort of flexible. Not cookie-like whatsover. About 4 inches a side.

There's a story in this connection. Her two daughters (my Aunts Ruthie and Shirley) decided that my grandmother's hamantasch recipe need to be written down. So they got my grandmother to make the hamantaschen step by step. Before my grandmother added any pinch, handful, or whatever to the bowl, one aunt weighed it and the other wrote down the weight. At the end, they had a complete recipe, but the hamantaschen themselves were not as great as usual! Sorta like quantum physics, where the observer affects the phenomenon observed.

At February 27, 2007 at 9:25:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spell check time:

s/b "whatsoever" and "needed" above.

Someday, I'll do this stuff before I post, bli neder.

At February 27, 2007 at 9:26:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks for the information, Bob. Have you ever seen the soft kind since that time?

At February 27, 2007 at 9:48:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife has lots of recent kosher cookbooks, and at least one that I've looked at has a soft dough recipe for hamantaschen. Why not do a survey of heimishe bakeries in Boro Park and Williamsburg, or better yet, an eating tour there?

At February 27, 2007 at 9:51:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, I've read that some use milchig dough. I don't remember if my grandmother's were milchig or pareve.

At February 27, 2007 at 9:55:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Bob: Good idea, but I don't live in Brooklyn. Which cookbook has this recipe?

As for the milchig or pareve variety, my wife usually makes them pareve but has also made a milchig variety which is very tasty.

At February 27, 2007 at 1:39:00 PM EST, Blogger yitz said...

My wife, the daughter of a Polish-born baker & quite a baker herself, says that a yeast dough was often used in Eastern Europe -- you usually got a lot more "dough for your money", purim pun intended! And she thinks that cookie dough could have been used there as well...
But Purim wouldn't be Purim without a good bottle o' wine. What kind do you guys use????

At February 27, 2007 at 9:43:00 PM EST, Blogger Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

I've never heard of Hamen Tashen made of pastry dough. These sound delicious. Bob, do you care to share a recipe?

At February 28, 2007 at 4:22:00 AM EST, Blogger yitz said...

Hey ASJ, Don't forget to include this at Batya's Kosher Karnival...if you need the info as to where to send it, lemme know.

At February 28, 2007 at 6:16:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Yitz: Thanks for the input from your wife. I also made sure to submit this to Batya's Kosher Karnival as well.

Shpitzle Shtrimpkind: They are certainly delicious :)

At February 28, 2007 at 8:47:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know who has a copy of my grandmother's recipe now, nor have I gone back through cookbooks yet to find similar ones. If I run into either, I'll (bli neder) post it.

Here's something recent and funny from MIT (!) on the merits of hamantaschen vs. latkes:

At March 20, 2007 at 12:25:00 AM EDT, Blogger elf said...

In The World of Jewish Cooking, Gil Marks claims that hamentaschen were originally made with yeast pastry dough, and that the sweet cookie dough is quite recent.

At March 20, 2007 at 6:43:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing that, Elf.

At March 23, 2008 at 6:16:00 PM EDT, Blogger Unknown said...

I just stumbled on this posting a year after it was published. My bubby used to make Hamantaschen from soft dough and her family was from Pakroy Lithuania.

Does anyone have a good soft dough recipe? My email is mlshermancpa@cox.net. Thanks.


Visual verification

At April 9, 2008 at 4:17:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you say your wife was able to find these soft/pastry dough hamentaschen at a bakery? Where, please?!

At March 7, 2009 at 1:41:00 AM EST, Blogger Unknown said...

i also grew up with the soft dough and now that i live in israel they only have the other kind!!! :(((
i would love to be able to make the soft dough...does anybody have a good recipe for it...PLEASE!!!!
i would SOOOO appreciate it.

At February 25, 2018 at 4:51:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Ukraine and Moldova yeast dough hamantaschen are the norm, not cookie dough. Of course, they are triangular in shape but most people bake them without filling exposed. They are fully sealed. Traditional filling is poppy seed (pure poppy seed without prune added) with sugar and a bit of poppy seed sprinkled on the top. It is usually glazed with egg to give it a nice look. It can be pareve. The key to success is a good quality dry yeast, patience (dough has to increase two times its size, quality 'mohn" (poppy seed)


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