Introducing a new hamantaschen recipe is one of my annual goals for the Jewish holiday, Purim. Given my obsession with blueberries, I am actually surprised that I didn’t develop this recipe sooner! These Blueberry Hamantaschen are a nod to my Blueberry Lemon Crumb Babka, which quickly became one of the most popular recipes on this blog. The tangy lemon hamantaschen dough houses an easy to make, sweet blueberry jam, and gets topped with my signature lemon crumbs.
What Are Hamataschen?
Let’s first make sure we are all on the same page. Hamantaschen are triangular shaped cookies (or pastry) that are made with a variety of different fillings. Why are they triangular? Long story short, they are traditionally made for the Jewish holiday of Purim — a joyous holiday that commemorates the saving of the Jews from an evil dude named Haman. According to legend, Haman wore a three-cornered hat. (Very fashion-forward for such a hateful man!) Why they decided to shape cookies like his hat is beyond me. All I know is that, made properly, they are delish.
For further thoughts on the history of hamantaschen, visit Chabad’s website.
Growing up, hamantaschen seem to have been made with a cookie dough that usually included orange juice in the dough, and the fillings were apricot, raspberry, poppyseed, or prune. Where I grew up, apple hamantaschen were also common, which inspired my Apple Cinnamon Spice Hamantaschen. I suspect that many bakeries used jams for filling because it was easy to make hamantaschen in bulk that way. These days, hamantaschen flavors have evolved into anything and everything, including savory ones.
How to Make Blueberry Hamantaschen
One of the best parts about these Blueberry Hamantaschen (other than the taste and texture, of course!) is that you can make the components in advance. The following is my recommendation for making it all at once, but keep in mind that you can make the dough, filling and crumb topping beforehand, which I will note below.
1. How to Make Hamantaschen Dough
The dough for these Blueberry Hamantaschen is similar to all my hamantaschen dough, which is an adaptation of Shannon Sarna’s recipe from her book Modern Jewish Baker, just modified for flavor. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, and set the bowl aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar with the lemon zest, using your fingertips to press the zest into the sugar. This releases the oils from the zest, providing a deeper lemon flavor. Then add the butter and cream it with the sugar/zest mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in the rest of the wet ingredients, and fold in the dry ingredients just until fully combined.
I like to divide the dough in half, press them into flat disks, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a couple of hours. This dough is easiest to work with while it is cold because it has just enough flour for the dough to hold its shape without the dough feeling heavy, dense and dry. (Adding more flour to the dough would make the dough easier to roll out, but it will significantly change the texture and mouthfeel of the cookie portion of the hamantaschen.)
You can make the dough up to 48 hours in advance, storing it in the refrigerator. If you are in a rush, you can put the wrapped dough packages into the freezer for 30 minutes.
2. Make the Blueberry Hamantaschen Filling
This blueberry filing is super easy to make and takes approximately 5 minutes. Unless you are making these in prime blueberry season and have sweet, fresh blueberries available, I highly recommend using frozen blueberries which are almost always perfectly sweet.
Into a medium saucepan, mix the sugar with the cornstarch and salt. Toss in the blueberries and lemon juice. Stir and cook the mixture over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stirring frequently. The blueberries will start to break apart and the mixture will thicken. Once it is thickened, pour the blueberry mixture into a heatproof container to cool completely. The blueberry hamantaschen filling can be made up to one week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
3. Make the Lemon Crumb Topping for the Blueberry Hamantaschen
Like the filling, the lemon crumb topping is easy to make and takes seconds to prepare. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, confectioner’s sugar, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and the melted butter. Use a fork to mix it all together until crumbs are fully formed. I like to store the lemon crumbs in an airtight container in the refrigerator while I roll out the hamantaschen dough because I find it easier to break up the clumps into crumbs. You can also just keep the crumbs at room temperature. If you want to make the lemon crumbs in advance, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
4. Roll Out and Cut the Hamantaschen Dough
I suggest having two disks of dough because it is more manageable to roll one out at a time. I like to roll the dough out between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper. If the dough is cracking, it is likely too cold. Just let it sit for a couple of minutes and then continue rolling.
You want to roll the dough so that it is no thinner than ¼ of an inch. If you roll it thinner than that, it will be difficult to shape the hamantaschen. Use a lightly floured round cutter to cut circles out. I use a round cutter that is 2½ inches in diameter. If the dough becomes sticky or difficult to work with, try lightly flouring it or put it back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Use a floured metal spatula to lift the rounds onto a separate piece of parchment paper. You can cut all the circles out and store them in the refrigerator, or you can fill them as you go along.
5. Fill the Hamantaschen with Blueberry Filling
Add approximately 1 teaspoon of blueberry filling to the center of each circle. Do not over fill them! Lightly flour your fingertips and form each circle into triangles by folding up the rounds and pinching them tightly in three corners. (If they are not sticking together, wet your fingertip and rub it on the inside where you are trying to create the point. Also, if they are not perfectly shaped, you will have an easier time giving them a final shape after they are fully chilled just before baking.) You want to make sure that the seams are fully closed so that the filling does not break through the barriers while baking. Place the shaped hamantaschen on the prepared cookie sheets.
6. FREEZE and then Bake the Blueberry Hamantaschen
This is such a critical step for success! The hamantaschen will not keep their shape if they enter the oven at room temperature. Pop them in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, just before baking, remove the hamantaschen from the freezer, at which point you can easily fix any shaping issues. Then top each one with some of the lemon crumbs and bake. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the pan, and then completely on a wire rack.
Looking for other hamantaschen flavors? Check out:
- Apple Cinnamon Spice Hamantaschen
- Fig Hamantaschen
- S’mores Brownie Hamantaschen
- Boston Cream Pie Hamantaschen
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Blueberry Hamantaschen
Do I have to freeze the hamantaschen before baking?
Yes. The hamantaschen may not hold their shape if they are placed in the oven at room temperature. Baking them from the freezer ensures that they hold their shape.
Can blueberry hamantaschen be made dairy free (parve)?
Absolutely. I recommend substituting the butter with Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks and replacing the milk with non-dairy milk.
- 283 grams all purpose flour (2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons)
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 150 grams sugar (¾ cup)
- 113 grams unsalted butter at room temperature (8 Tablespoons or ½ cup)
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen (2 cups))
- 14 grams lemon juice (1 Tablespoon)
- 10 grams cornstarch (1 Tablespoon or 14 grams (1 Tablespoon) instant clear jel)
- 68 grams sugar (¼ cup plus 1½ Tablespoons)
- ⅛ teaspoon of salt
Lemon Crumb Topping
- 28 grams all purpose flour (¼ cup less 1 teaspoon)
- 18 grams confectioner’s sugar (2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon)
- pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
- 13 grams unsalted butter, melted (1 Tablespoon)
- Prepare the Dough. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, press the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingertips to release the oils from the zest. Add the butter and cream for 2-3 minutes. Add the egg, the egg yolk, lemon juice, milk, and vanilla and beat until all the liquid ingredients are fully incorporated.
- With the mixer off, pour the dry ingredients into the mixer bowl over the liquid ingredients. Turn the mixer on the lowest speed and mix just until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. (Alternatively, you can mix the dry ingredients in by hand using a rubber spatula.) Do not overmix.
- Place half the dough on top of a large piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic wrap, shape the dough into a disk, pushing down on it to thin it out. Fully cover the disk of dough in the plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours and for as long as 24 hours. (I usually make the dough the day before I am going to bake, so I let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. If you are in a rush, you can put the dough in the freezer for 30 minutes instead of the refrigerator.) Repeat with the remaining portion of the dough. While the dough rests in the refrigerator, make the blueberry filling and lemon crumbs.
- Make the Blueberry Filling. Pour the blueberries into a small or medium size saucepan. Pour the lemon juice over. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch (or Clear Jel) and salt. Pour over the blueberries. Over medium heat, stir the mixture and cook until the juices on the bottom start to simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue stirring until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat, pour the blueberry mixture into a heatproof bowl, and allow to cool to room temperature before using. (You can make the filling in advance and work with it directly from the refrigerator. Just give it a good stir before using it.)
- Make the Lemon Crumb Topping. In a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add the zest and rub it into the sugar/flour/salt with your fingertips to release the oils in the zest. Add the lemon juice and melted butter. Stir to form crumbs. It should be the consistency of sand with some larger clumps. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Shape Hamentaschen. Line 2 or 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Take one of the dough disks from the refrigerator and roll out in between two pieces of parchment paper that are lightly dusted in flour. Roll the dough so that it is approximately ¼ of an inch thick. If you roll it too thin, the dough will rip as you remove it from the parchment. Using a round cookie cutter (I use a 2½ inch diameter), cut as many rounds out as you can. You may need to dip your cutter into some flour to avoid it sticking to the dough. Use a metal spatula dipped in flour to release the rounds. Gather the scraps and roll that clump of dough out and cut more rounds. Keep repeating until you have used all the dough. If at any point the dough becomes too sticky or difficult to work with, cover it in plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Try to avoid adding too much flour to the dough.
- Fill each round with approximately 1 teaspoon of the blueberry filling. Lightly flour your fingertips and form each circle into triangles by folding up the rounds and pinching them tightly in three corners. (If they are not sticking together, wet your fingertip and rub it on the inside where you are trying to create the point.) You want to make sure that the seams are fully closed so that they do not open while baking. Place the shaped hamantaschen on the prepared cookie sheets.
- Place the cookie sheets with the shaped hamantaschen in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. (If you have limited freezer space, place them tightly, right next to each other, on one prepared cookie sheet or a plate. Once frozen, you can easily remove them and set them further apart on another prepared baking sheet for baking.)
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Repeat steps 7 through 9 with the remaining disk of dough.
- Top each hamantaschen with approximately 1 teaspoon of the lemon crumb topping. Bake the frozen hamantaschen for 10-12 minutes until they are lightly brown around the bottom edges.
- Cool on pan for a few minutes and then completely on a wire rack.
- 1 lemon should provide enough zest and juice for this recipe.
- For a non-dairy version, substitute vegan butter and non-dairy milk.
- If making these in one day, for time management purposes, I recommend making the dough, and while the dough disks are in the refrigerator, make the blueberry filling and lemon crumbs.
- The dough can be made up to 48 hours in advance and stored wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. The blueberry filling and lemon crumbs can be made up to one week in advance and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
- Although I have not done this, the dough, the blueberry filling and the lemon crumbs should freeze well. Take them both out of the freezer and place them in the refrigerator the night before you plan on rolling, shaping and baking. They should both be defrosted by the time you roll out the dough the next day.
- You can also roll and shape the hamanteschen and freeze them for up to 3 months. This way you can bake as many as you want right from the freezer.
- Once baked, store at room temperature in a sealed container. They will remain fresh for at least several days.
- Once baked, these freeze beautifully. Defrost at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.