Joan Nathan's Favorite Hamantaschen Cookies

February 20, 2013

Once the holiday rush is long gone, and spring is almost within our reach, the Jewish community throws one more party to let loose and celebrate Purim. Even if you're not familiar with the holiday, you may have noticed hamantaschen at your local bakery: these pretty, triangular cookies with colorful fillings are a hallmark of the festivities, and they get their name from the story that Purim commemorates.


As it goes, Haman, the ill-willed advisor to the king of Persia, had planned against the Jews -- but his plans were thwarted by Mordecai, the hero, and they were saved. Hamantaschen are said to get their name from Haman's pockets, ears, or maybe his three-pointed hat. Some say that on Purim you should drink more than usual, and others say to drink until you can't tell the difference between the villain and the hero. We'll save face and stick with the cookies for now.

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If you've never experienced the buttery dough and flavorful filling of homemade hamantaschen, now's your chance. And who better to teach you than Joan Nathan, an expert on the subject of Jewish Cooking in America? We've partnered with Tablet Magazine to share Joan's chosen cookie recipe: here, she shows how easy it is to make hamantaschen with a Persian-inspired filling. We hope you enjoy making them as much as we have, and that you have a wonderful Purim.

Joan Nathan's Chosen Hamantaschen

Makes 30 cookies

2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange juice
2.5 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 lemon, quartered and seeded
1/2 orange, quartered and seeded
1 tablespoon Triple Sec or other orange-flavored liqueur
2 dried figs, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cups orange marmalade

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photo by James Ransom

Want more ways to celebrate? See 9 more festive edible gifts for Purim.

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Alex Lampert

Written by: Alex Lampert

I love beans, bikes, brown liquor and all things green. I am the salad queen. My modus operandi of late is working on long-term curing and fermenting projects.


Esther M. April 12, 2014
Thanks Joan for the recipe come back to Providence, RI and open a Jewish Kosher restaurant. We don't have one. Please come back.
Brain H. February 20, 2013
I cooked with Joan at Rancho la Puerta a few weeks ago, and I had to run out and buy her book--The Foods of Israel Today. I am working my way through the hummus, the falafel, the harissa, the Israeli Lemony Cabbage Salad--all the recipes are amazing. Now I'll have to skip to the desserts and make some Hamantaschen. Joan is a treasure of knowledge on culture and food, and she makes all her recipes seem so easy and fun. Thanks Joan!
creamtea February 20, 2013
These look wonderful! Thanks for the recipe!
Hal S. March 14, 2014
The recipe is good. If you watch the video, note that she uses different measurements than in the recipe shown above.