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Mar 19, 2008 12:27 PM

How to pronouce hamentaschen and find a good version?

There is a little discussion about the sorry state of hamentaschen on the SF Board.

It is that triangular Jewish cookie filled with poppyseed or fruit preserves. Wiki says it can also be filled with cheese or even caramel ... hmmm, sounds good

First how is in pronouced? Webster gives two versions. Interpreting what the dictionary says

I never knew there were two types ... according to this old Chowhound post there are ""yeast hamantashen" vs "cookie hamantashen"

I think I've only had the cookie version. What makes the cookie great in either category.

Good goy that I am, I never knew there was a religious significance and it was associated with Purim. I just thought they tasted good. I'm a fan of the prune or apricot myself.

Hmmm ... never knew about fazuelos. Will have to keep an eye open for them.

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  1. In Brooklyn we used the first pronounciation. I don't think I've ever seen/heard of the yeast version.

    2 Replies
    1. re: southernitalian

      And you're from Brooklyn? My father only bought the yeast version from all the bakeries on Brighton Beach Avenue (pre-Little Odessa days). Darn, I hate those. They taste just like plain, old danish.

      Mewantfood has it mostly right. You can't buy good ones but I bake a mean hamantash, as does my gluten-free, vegan, no-refined-anything friend (okay, she bakes using butter, flour, and white sugar - she just doesn't eat her own baking).

      As far as flavors go, the sky's the limit. Prune, apricot, raspberry, and mohn (poppyseed) are more traditional but chocolate is very popular with kids. This year I baked:

      red bean
      green tea dough with red bean filling

      My dough is a little more like a soft sugar cookie than a shortbread cross but it's still basically a sugar cookie.

      1. re: rockycat

        I think you're pretty close to right about not being able to find good ones store bought anymore. They're still realllly tasty, but they tend to be overcooked. I taste tested them from a few different bakeries last night, and they were all a little off, and a little too well done. Still yummy though!

    2. rworange, the different pronunciations are due to the ashkenazic and sephardic Hebrew/Yiddish dialects. And I'm of the opinion that you can't buy good hamantashen, they can only be baked by your Grandma. . . )

      1. I use the first pronunication.

        I think the cookie is great if it's like a simple delicious sugar cookie, or almost a shortbread. You can taste butter and sweet, and let the filling speak too. Many hamentaschen are pareve (made without dairy products) and they just can't taste as good as with butter.

        I have about 200 cooling right now. Phew!

        2 Replies
        1. re: milklady

          That's a great way of describing them....somewhere between a sugar cookie, and a shortbread. I was struggling to come up with words on the SF board that wouldn't be misleading.

          1. re: sugartoof

            I agree with sugartoof (for once, eh?). That is the perfect description. It has been so lt ong since I had a good one that I couldn't even remember what made me love them originally. I think that the local versions that I tried might be parve which doesn't give me that buttery hit that I like.

        2. I use the first pronunciation. I have been meaning to bake them this week but I have had to bake cupcakes and brownie shortbread in the last few days. Hope to get to it soon with my son. Let me know if you want the recipe.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bistro66

            Terrific. If you have time it would be nice to have the recipe on the home cooking board.

          2. I have used and mostly hear the second pronunciation.

            By far, my own preference is for the cookie style. 40 years ago, in my early teens, I lived in Rochester NY, and this is the only place I have ever had the yeast version, which is more like a sweetroll. I dont know if the dominence of one style over another is regional, an Ashkenazy VS Sephardic thing, a Litvak VS Galitzianer thing, an Orthodox VS Conservative VS Reform thing, but I think it would make an interesting study.

            I've never had cheese in a hamentasch before (mainly blintzes and knishes), and now that I think about it, I cant remember ever having caramel in any traditional Jewish item. The apricot and the poppy seed are my favourites.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Fydeaux

              Might be because of the difference in accents btwn Rochester and Brooklyn, pretty big. Now that I am reading these posts, I'm remembering the yeast version but I think we called it something different. Can anyone think of another name for them? And my grandmother only made the cookie version. I used to think they looked like the triangular hats they wore during the American Revolutionary war period!

              1. re: Fydeaux

                Sephardic Jews didn't eat Hamantaschens. They have other symbolic things they eat instead.

                Southeritalian - they are shaped to represent the hat that Haman wore, which is depicted as looking triangular in that American Revolution style you referenced.