A hamantash is a pastry in Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine recognizable
for its three-cornered shape. The shape is achieved by folding in the sides of a
circular piece of dough, with a filling placed in the center. It is
traditionally eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim.
The word "hamantash" is singular; "hamantashen" is plural and
is the word form more commonly used. However, many people refer to these cookies
as hamantashen even in the singular (for example, "I ate an apricot
Hamantaschen are made
with many different fillings, including prunes, nut, poppy seed, date, apricot,
apple, fruit preserves, cherry, chocolate,
dulce de leche,
or even caramel or cheese.
The name hamantash (המן־טאַש), is commonly known as a reference to Haman, the
villain of Purim, as described in the Book of Esther. A more likely source of
the name is a corruption of the Yiddish word מאן־טאשן (montashn) or the German
word mohntaschen, both meaning poppyseed-filled pouches. Over time, this name
was transformed to Hamantaschen, likely by association with Haman. In Israel,
they are called Oznei Haman (Hebrew: אוזני המן), Hebrew for "Haman's ears"
where children are jokingly told these tasty pastries are the ears of Haman.