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EST. 2011 BY LIZ RUEVEN
Rugelach Meet Hamantaschen in the Middle
Apple hamantaschen; Photo: Jacob Shaw

Rugelach Meet Hamantaschen in the Middle

The Shaw family’s tradition of baking classic hamantaschen (triangular Purim cookies) in their home kitchen has evolved into a much anticipated bake-a-thon in the kosher kitchen at Tufts University‘s Jewish Culture House, The Bayit (not affiliated with the Tufts U.).

They call it Not Your Bubbe’s Hamantaschen for a good reason.

Not your bubbe's haman
Jacob’s Bubbe’s prayer book; photo: Jacob Shaw

Maybe the bubbe (Yiddish for grandmother) of the story couldn’t decide between her fave baked goods? Hamantaschen or rugelach? Rugelach or Hamantaschen?

As Shaw told me, the merging of the two became “a rugelach in a hamantasch, if you will.”

Have fun with the recipe for the confluence of the two at the end of this post.

Photo: Jacob Shaw; Not Your Bubbe’s Hamantaschen

When Jacob Shaw and his sister Yael were growing up in Glencoe, IL. they baked dozens of buttery hamantaschen with their family each March.

They made traditional hamantaschen with jam fillings and gifted them to teachers, friends and neighbors. As word in the community spread, they found themselves baking 100-200 buttery treats to share in celebration of Purim each year.

For more on WHY we bake these triangular treats click here.

family hamantaschen baking
The Shaw family, IL.Photo courtesy of Jacob Shaw

When Jacob was a freshman in high school, he says his family “got bitten by the flavor bug”. While traditionalists still loved the classic jam fillings, the family began to experiment with apples. But this wasn’t the filling of some ordinary pie.

It was a balanced sweet/ tart jam of Granny Smith apples simmered with dulce de leche and cloves.

This apple flavor remains their most popular and is now one of a trio of signature flavors. Lemon Lavender, infused with rich and tangy lemon curd and Cherry, infused with a hint of tarragon, are the others.

Fast forward to just two years ago when Shaw moved into The Bayit in 2020 and began to yearn for the traditions of his childhood Purim baking. He proposed a group baking session to his housemates. They loved the idea of bringing his Dad’s dough recipe to their communal kitchen with some innovative flavor additions.

Kosher Like Me not your bubbe's hamntaschen
Chocolate peanut butter hamantasch courtesy of Not Your Bubbe’s Hamantaschen

As word spread on campus and throughout the Boston area community, the students expected to bake 500 pieces. Surprisingly, they sold over 1000. They enlisted friends to help in shifts in-between studying and attending classes.

Not Your bubbe's hamantaschen
Photo: Jacob Shaw. 50% of Orange Blossom hamantaschen purchases benefit The Bee Conservatory

The next year, the group continued donating the bake sale proceeds to charities. As more sweets were sold, an even larger and more varied list of donation recipients was chosen.

Scaling up the recipes, devising an ordering system, ordering ingredients in bulk, figuring out compostable packaging, all became a necessary part of the blossoming baking efforts.

They’ve even figured out how customers could buy “the uglies” at a discount, by weight.

Hamantaschen flavors 2022
Photo: Jacob Shaw; Not Your Bubbe’s Hamantaschen

Not Your Bubbe’s Hamantaschen is committed to offering 18 flavors in total, a number that signifies good luck. The student bakers chose charities that direct funds to causes that are meaningful to the group.

Not Your bubbe's hamantaschen
Photo: Jacob Shaw; purchases of salted caramel hamantaschen support Project AWARE

When I last spoke with Jacob Shaw, he told me that sales are closed, even though it’s a few days prior to their order deadline. They’ve received 1200 orders and are more than busy enough.

To learn more about this student led initiative to bake, celebrate and help to heal the world, click here.

If you’re in the Boston area or have students at Tufts or other Boston area universities, be sure to follow Not Your Bubbe’s Hamantaschen at least one month before Purim 2023. I’m thinking about my order already.

For more inspiration, click on some of our past Purim posts for these recipes:

 Tropical Hamantaschen with Pineapple and Coconut Filling (dairy free dough)

Chocolate Glazed Hamantaschen Inspired by Southern Citrus (dairy free dough)

Chocolate Hamantaschen with Creamy Chocolate Halvah Filling (dairy)

And Finally, for the hesitant bakers out there, here’s THE BEST hack using a cake mix for the dough. I haven’t tried this but I trust the source. Also, it’s low risk since you’ll only need to add eggs, oil and flour to the mix.

One Comment

  1. I have enjoyed your blog about the hamantashen. It was inspired by the holiday of Purim, which celebrates the salvation of the Jewish people from the plot of the ancient Persian tyrant Haman. Today, hamantashen are still popular and eaten.
    Thank you so much for sharing the blog post!

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