hamentashen on a cooling rack

What the Heck is a Hamentashen?

We understand that not everyone grew up with a Jewish grandma making hamentashen for the family on special occasions. It’s okay because we’re going to be looking at what are hamentashen and why you should be ordering one next time you visit Chompie’s or at least taking a lesson on how to whip one up whenever a craving strikes. 

Yes, they’re that good.

What is a Hamentashen

Do you like pastries? Crunchy, crumbly, and just the right amount of sweet? Good, because that’s what hamentashen are. 

More specifically— they are a triangular-shaped pastry dessert typically reserved for Purim, a traditional Jewish holiday. The center of the triangle shape is filled with your choice of fruit preserves or poppyseeds if you’re going to follow tradition. Should you want a modern twist, consider using Nutella for the middle filling of the pastry dough. 

Here’s a hamentashen recipe for your curiosity in the kitchen. 

If you ever attend a Purim observance, you’ll likely encounter hamentashen inside the baskets that are made and given to others during this Jewish holiday.

The History of Hamentashen

The word ‘hamentashen’ literally means “Haman’s pockets” in Yiddish. Haman refers to the character in the Book of Esther, where the Purim holiday stems from. 

The story explains how Queen Esther’s Jewish uncle Mordechai, a member of King Xerxes’ court, angered the King’s right-hand man, Haman, when he refused to bow to him. Haman devised a plot to kill all the Jewish people, but when Queen Esther and Mordechai heard of this, Queen Esther went on a three-day, dry fast where she consumed no drink nor food while praying before approaching King Xerxes for mercy.  

The Jewish people were saved and the day is commemorated henceforth

The Purim feast is held at dusk when it’s believed Queen Esther ended her fast, making her request before the king to save her people. Purim is celebrated each year in remembrance.

What do Haman’s pockets have to do with it? 

Haman’s pockets were said to have been filled with the silver coins he was paid to advance his plan of destruction. Purim celebrates Queen Esther’s bravery and courage to make a life-threatening request to Persian King Xerxes. Hamentashen and other Jewish foods were created to carry on this story through food.

Passing Down Stories Through Food

Think of the hamentashen as edible mementos passed down in Jewish kitchens, restaurants, and bakeries all over the world. The size and shape of hamentashen are meant to connect partakers with their deeper background. Remembering these victories in Jewish history is important to our culture.

Plus, it’s a delicious way to honor the overthrowing of an evil plan to destroy the Jewish people. And with such yumminess— it’s hard to forget the story that goes along with the pastry. 

Chompie’s is Serving New York Eats and Deli Favorites for the Whole Family!

  Whether you’re in the mood for hamentashen or looking for a salty dish item, Chompie’s is your Jewish go-to in the Phoenix metro area! Since 1979, Chompie’s has been the restaurant of choice for Arizonians looking for an authentic menu that serves items like latkes, matzo ball soup, knishes, and so much more. 

Additionally, we are known for our New York-style menu serving classic deli items like bagels, mile-high sandwiches, and colossal Reubens. We are proud of our long history of service and look forward to creating experiences you will not forget. 

Visit one of our locations today and see how we are helping our fellow Arizonians with our Kids eat free special offer!