Hamantaschen for Rosh Hashanah  and a Recipe to Cherish

I remember back in the spring of 1984; it was a balmy, unusually warm afternoon on Long Island, and I was awaiting the birth of my first child. My nesting instinct was at an all-time high. I organized and cleaned, and when I had literally rearranged and washed every conceivable item in my home, I polished. When everything was shining, I rearranged again. Then, when there was no more to clean or shine, my instincts sent me to the kitchen to cook. And cook some more. And then some.

Finally, I had the focus that Purim was arriving, and I had the glorious option of making Hamantaschen. With about seven different fillings chosen and set aside, each made from scratch (I have never been a fan of the “less is more” philosophy; more is clearly more, and it seems absurd to consider any other perspective in my opinion, particularly in culinary matters), I took to preparing dough. I chose a pareve recipe, another one that my aunt had always prepared and insisted was the best, and the one which I have included below, a dairy dough recipe, just perfect following a milk or fish meal. Then I tripled the recipe. After all, I needed enough for the misloach manot baskets, for my husband’s office staff, for my relatives and friends, and then, of course, for my own home (which at the time, awaiting the birth of my eldest of four, only consisted of my husband and myself- how much could the two of us eat? That was irrelevant… after all, more is more, right?). So, I prepared. With three enormous balls of dough, each a different type, and the seven various filings, I was ready to bake. Boy was I ready to bake.

And then I couldn’t. Somewhere between preparing the dough, setting each ball in wax paper and placing each in the refrigerator to enhance rollability, sealing the fillings in my glass and rubber-top covers, and taking out and greasing my dozen cookie sheets and setting my double oven at 350 degrees (thank goodness for that double oven I had insisted on), the unthinkable happened. My son decided that it was time to make his arrival. And that is precisely how all that preparation was left, in the kitchen on that spring-like day in March, 1984. With the gears all set for a bake-fest that would likely have produced at least a dozen dozen Hamantashen, I called my husband and alerted him that “it was time.”

When I returned home a week later (yes, alas, in the 80’s, a Cesarean delivery warranted a week’s rest in the hospital; such was not the case in my subsequent deliveries, when some rest from a house, thank G-d, filled with children would have been so appreciated), my pristine kitchen was shining, with no evidence of the goodies that had been set to be  baked a week earlier. Purim was over, and my sole focus was on my newborn son, and dealing with my new role as a mom.

Fast-forward six months later, it was now Rosh Hashanah that was arriving. I had a bouncing six-month old, who was ready to walk (yes, it is true, although he waited until he was precisely seven-and-a-half months old to do this; the only witness I have to this feat was my grandmother, who passed away, and so no one can attest to this fact that a seven-and-a half-month-old actually walked). Part-time work also filled my days, and I was a busy, young mother and wife. My memories of the day I had first gone into labor were passed, and it was only when I decided to rearrange the freezer in preparation for the myriad goodies that were going to fill my refrigerator as my Rosh Hashanah supplies would arrive, that I eyed three giant balls of dough. Sitting at the back, still wrapped in the wax paper, but also placed in large Ziploc bags, there they sat –the pareve recipe, my aunt’s “divine” recipe, and the cream cheese dairy one, each untouched and waiting to be defrosted, rolled, filled, baked, and consumed. It seemed that when I had been whisked off to the hospital that day the spring before, my husband had come home later that night, and put away all the ingredients that had been left out in our hurry to the hospital. He had put the dough balls in individual bags, and had realized that the freezer was likely the best place for them.

So, that week before Rosh Hashanah I discovered them. In the half-a-year that had passed, I had completely forgotten the unbaked dough. I proceeded to put them out on the counter and defrost each ball. And in between all the other holiday preparation, and caring for my up-and-crawling, nearly-walking (please, believe me) six-month old, Michael, I made Hamantaschen. Seven varieties of filling, and three varieties of dough graced our New Year holiday tables. I saved the dairy ones for the brunch buffet that followed on the weekend for the out-of-town family that could not make it for the actual holiday dinners that we had a few evenings prior.

The recipe that follows is the very one I used that year, March 1984. I will always be amazed that those dough balls were waiting six months for me to be baked, and even more so, that my husband had had the wherewithal to pack the dough balls away for me. I don’t think he has intervened in the kitchen at any point since, in fact I know he hasn’t.

Dairy Hamantashen


Cream Cheese dough: A delicious and particularly flaky, yet dense cookie dough is what you will get with this dairy Hamantaschen recipe. It is perfect for a light, milkhik meal, so take advantage of this recipe, as there is nothing like dairy products –butter, cream and cream cheese– to make pastry the most delicious it can be (sorry; oil or margarine is what we turn to when we need pareve, but alas, they simply do not produce a pastry that is nearly comparable in texture, flavor, or fragrance, as you get with dairy products).



  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour, plus more as needed
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water


  • Filling (use chocolate-hazelnut or poppy-seed pastes, apricot preserves or raspberry)
  • Chocolate Chips can also be used as a filling, and are a guaranteed favorite with kids (for those without allergy, chopped, coarse walnuts and pecans are delicious mixed in with chocolate chips as well, especially with a little added white sugar for added crunch!)
  • Granulated or coarse sugar for topping (optional)

To make the dough: Place the sugar, butter, and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla, salt and flour, and stir to make a soft dough, adding a little flour if the dough is too sticky to handle.

(The dough may also be made in a food processor. Place the flour in the work bowl. Add the butter and cream cheese in chunks along with the vanilla and salt. Process until the dough forms a ball. Remove from the processor bowl and sprinkle on a little flour to make handling the dough easier. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or overnight.)

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

While the oven is heating, make the egg wash: Combine the egg, egg yolk, sugar and water in a small bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly. Set aside.

To assemble the hamantaschen: Roll out the dough on a well-floured board, being careful not to press too firmly; the dough will be a little fragile. Cut into 3-inch rounds and brush with egg wash. Scraps can be rerolled once. Place a generous teaspoonful of filling in the center of each round. Fold over the edge of the circle in three sections to form a triangle and pinch the corners closed. There should be a lip of dough around the outside, but some filling should be left exposed in the center. Brush the exposed dough with egg wash again and, if desired, sprinkle with regular or coarse sugar. Transfer the triangles to the baking sheet. Bake for about 18 to 22 minutes, until golden brown.

The Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School is a prestigious NYC Jewish Day School in the heart of New York City.  Located in the Upper East Side, this Jewish Day School promotes academic growth through community and collaboration.