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Poppy seed hamentashen recipes?

Purim is coming, and I am looking for a great poppy seed filling recipe for hamentashen. I prefer it to be dairy, with no jam or jelly added. None of the recipes I have tried over the years match up to my childhood memories.

My favorite recipe for the yeast dough comes from the cookbook, "My Mother's Kitchen" by Mimi Sheraton, and it is a rich schnecken dough.

Can you help?

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  1. I gave up on finding a recipe to make own - I use the canned stuff - in fact just made some this past weekend and they came out great - I do not recall what the brand name but check the kosher food section in grocery

    1. One advantage to homemade over the canned stuff (solo is the usual brand) is that you can make it less sweet. (Even if I had no other objections, I find the canned one to be kind of cloying)
      That said, I've tried numerous recipes from the web and various cookbooks and never been all that thrilled with the results. They always stay too "separate", and not a smooth combination like the ones I grew up with. I tend to make mine a bit on the big side (I get impatient, plus they always rise more than I expect after shaping them), so having the filling too separate and dry is not that thrilling.

      The key is to grind the poppy seeds after soaking--the cuisinart or blender don't seem to do it, though. (You need a kitchenaid grinder attachment, or work in small batches with a mortar and pestle. I've seen some people suggest a coffee/spice grinder, that might be more on the right track) It's kind of a messy, labor-intensive process. :(
      Some recipes use egg to bind it--I would avoid these (haven't worked for me, at least). Honey seems like a better bet!

      1. Canned filling won't work for me either. I am serious about my poppy seed filling. I have a Hungarian poppy seed grinder, but have never been truly happy with my home-made results. I like Mimi Sheraton's recipe the best of the many I have tried, but the filling is for a coffee cake and the mixture doesn't congeal well enough for hamentashen.

        1. This is the filling I've been using for years, from of all places the Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery (in the Jewish Cookery section), and I love it: Combine 1 cup finely ground poppyseeds, 1 egg yolk, 2 tablespoons honey or sugar (I like honey), 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons finely chopped nuts (walnuts are best, I think). I jigger the amounts slightly each time to get the right consistency. Grind the poppyseeds really finely in a coffee grinder—you have to just keep grinding and grinding until it's almost a paste and the motor threatens to give out. I've never tried soaking the seeds, but haven't had any reason to.

          The accompanying dough recipe is also excellent. It's not too sweet, and more biscuity than cookie-y. Light and fluffy, not at all like those monsters you see in shop windows.

          1. I tried making the filling once, but I much prefer the canned. I get the Solo. I think it's delicious, and I like it extra-sweet.

            I'd probably love the Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery's dough recipe. I like it to be more biscuity.

            If anyone has a dough recipe like that, will you please post it?

            1 Reply
            1. re: puppymomma

              Here's the Women's Day dough recipe I love so much:

              2 1/2 c. sifted a-p flour
              1 T. baking powder
              1 t. salt
              1/4 c. sugar
              1 egg, beaten
              3/4 c. milk
              1/3 c. melted butter

              Sift flour with baking powder, salt, and sugar. Beat egg with milk, then mix with melted butter and pour into center of dry ingredients. Stir until a soft dough is formed. Knead a few times on a lightly floured work surface. Roll or pat to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles, fill, etc. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 min. Makes 15 to 18.

            2. Though not about the poppy seeds, I'm intrigued by this Mimi Sheraton recipe-- is it a pastry-like dough with butter/margarine? I usually use the milkhig taig (dairy yeast dough) recipe from Engle & Blair's "The Jewish Festival Cookbook" (the "Traditional Hamantaschen" one), which is most like the one I remember. It doesn't keep that well, though, since it dries out quickly-- I'm definitely in the market for a moister, richer, tastier and less nostalgic dough :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: another_adam

                It is a yeast dough with butter, milk and sour cream.

                I also make a sugar cookie dough that my family enjoys from the March 1986 Gourmet magazine. It includes lemon rind, vanilla and no baking powder or baking soda.

                Any more suggestions out there on a great poppy seed filling recipe?

              2. I've been using the recipe from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking for years. I don't have a poppy seed grinder -- they're expensive and I would use it very rarely -- so I skip that step and the filling still turns out just fine.


                1 Reply
                1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                  I use that recipe, too--if you mean the yeast dough. The apricot paste filling is wonderful--very intense. I have also filled them with Trader Joe's chocolate-hazelnut spread (like Nutella, but better), which is incredible.

                2. Alas, my grandma's recipe is for prune rather than poppy.

                  While I don't think she would let me post her amazing dough recipe here, I will say this: adding finely grated orange and lemon zest into your dough makes a big difference. I've never been anything but disappointed with the dough in a store-bought hamantasch - no flavor and too dry.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: seattledebs

                    Would you please share the prune filling recipe? I can't even get solo locally

                    1. re: JudiAU

                      Grandma has given her permission to share her recipe:

                      Take six pounds of prunes (mind you, this is for making enough to mail to the whole family... you may need less!). If you can get the sour prunes, great, but they're hard to come by these days. Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice and a few of sugar. Put this in a pot. In a separate pot, boil water and pour boiling water over the prunes. Let the prunes cook on medium heat for 20 minutes. Turn heat off, cover, and let them sit overnight in the pot on the stove. (Turn off the recorded message in your mind about the bacteria that might grow if you did this; no one in the many generations of hamantaschen-eaters in my family has yet to die from hamantaschen consumption; nor was Haman killed via food poisoning...)

                      The next day, whip the prune mixture, ideally with the paddle attachment on a kitchenaid or other mixer. Not an egg beater.

                      You can refrigerate or even freeze this mixture until it's time to use it.

                      SInce she give me permission, I put her dough recipe in the general hamantaschen recipes thread.

                    2. re: seattledebs

                      Correction: only lemon zest in the dough, not orange. I was mixing this up with another recipe of hers.

                      Also, to help your dough be less dry: unless you need your hamantaschen to be pareve, paint an "X" of melted butter onto your circle of dough before you add the filling and fold up the sides.

                    3. This recipe overcomes the roughness of poppyseed with dates, rather than by grinding. You don't have to follow the filling recipe measurements at all. If you add more milk, you cook it longer. Adjust the honey to the sweetness you want.

                      Hamantaschen with cream cheese dough and poppyseed filling

                      ½ cup butter
                      ½ cup cream cheese
                      2/3 cup sugar

                      Beat in:
                      1 egg
                      1 tsp vanilla extract

                      Combine and and add:
                      2 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
                      ¼ tsp salt

                      Chill dough before rolling.
                      Preheat oven to 350
                      Roll out on lightly floured surface
                      Cut circles with large water glass
                      Place spoonful of filling, pinch into triangle
                      Bake on greased cookie sheet until touch of golden brown is seen on edges.

                      POPPYSEED FILLING
                      Combine in saucepan: (these proportions don’t have to be accurate)
                      1 c. poppyseeds
                      ½ c. milk
                      ¼ to ½ c. honey
                      1/3 c. chopped dates
                      1/3 c. raisins
                      ¼ c. chopped almonds or walnuts
                      dash cinnamon
                      cook until thick.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: wearybashful

                        I'm curious about this cream cheese dough-- is it rich and soft and crumbly, or does it wind up as a cripier, sugar-cookier dough?

                        1. re: smartstart

                          I started off trying to make hamantashen with rugelach dough, and they all melted back into circles. It has to have an egg in it to hold a shape. It can never b as flaky and crumbly as rugelach. You can control the crispiness by how long you bake it, though. You have to get it pretty brown for it to be crispy. I take it out when just the edges are golden and it remains soft.

                      2. This recipe adds the fantastic flavor of almond paste. I use it for making Hamentashen and Danish.
                        Grind 1/2 c (3oz) poppy seed. (Don't sweat this step, just smash as best you can with a mortar and pestle or even by placing poppy seeds in a ziplock bag and press well with a rolling pin. In a double boiler or small metal bowl over simmering water, place poppy seeds and 1/3 c milk, stirring until heated. Stir in 1 c brown sugar (or to taste, as little as 2 T) and 2 T. butter. Add 2 egg yolks and continue stirring until thickened-remove from heat.
                        When cooled slightly add 1/3 c. almond paste, 1/4 t. ginger, juice from one lemon with zest and 1 t. vanilla. Stir well and refrigerate. Keeps about 2 days.