Where to buy the tri-cornered treats this Purim.
It’s that time of year again, folks: Purim! And for most children—and quite a few adults, too—the star of this holiday is the humble tri-cornered hamantaschen. In an ideal world, all hamantaschen would have a crisp, not-too-sweet crust filled with a generous amount of soft filling, but let’s face it: all too often, bakeries around town churn out dry, crumbly cookies with only the barest hint of prune, poppy or apricot inside.
But never fear: The Jewish Week has come to your rescue with the definitive hamantaschen-buying guide. We visited a number of bakeries around town and ranked their offerings from best to worst; luckily, they were all pretty good, but there were some clear winners. Read on for the results.
The Winner: Breads Bakery, Union Square, Manhattan
The only non-kosher bakery included in our tally, Breads’ offerings were also the best by a wide margin. This Eastern European-style bakery has garnered a ton of praise since opening early last year—folks say that it has the best babka and the best rugelach in the city—so it came as no surprise that the hamantaschen here are top-notch. The cookie crust is thin, delicate and extremely buttery, both crisp and pliable at the same time, and the fillings span from ultra-traditional (an exemplary soft, smooth poppy paste) to out-there (apple that tastes just like apple pie filling; vanilla pastry cream studded with dark chocolate).
Best For: Funky fillings and total mastery of the form.
18 East 16th Street, New York, NY 10003
The Runner-Up: Weiss Bakery, Boro Park, Brooklyn
Walking around Boro Park can feel like taking a stroll in Old World, as busy families pop in and out of carefully-stocked hosiery, hat and grocery stores and, of course, meticulously decorated kosher bakeries offering a range of breads and desserts. My favorite bakery in the area is Weiss, a place that takes Purim seriously, offering upwards of eight kinds of hamantaschen and filling its store windows with huge cookie-shaped breads that advertise the wares inside. The style of crust here is more akin to shortbread: crumbly and tender, it’s not dry at all, and traditional fillings are excellent: a toffee-like walnut paste, a jammy prune. Some kookier flavors are offered too, including an indulgent double-chocolate hamantaschen filled with smooth chocolate icing.
Best For: Old World charm with quality to match.
5011 13th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11219
The Bronze Medal: Korn Bakery, Boro Park, Brooklyn
Just down the street and a tiny step down in quality from Weiss is Korn, a more bare-bones kosher bakery offering less delicate pastries than its neighbor. Still, the hamantaschen here are very good, with a tender shortbread-style crust that distinguishes itself with a bit of bright lemon zest, and ultra-traditional fillings including prune and apricot.
Best For: When the lines at Weiss are too long.
5004 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11204
Honorary Mention: Sander’s Kosher Bakery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Occupying a handsome corner location in ultra-Orthodox Williamsburg, Sander’s storefront boasts a wonderful old-school sign and its pastry counter inside, heaped with jam-filled sprinkles cookies, rugelach and babkas, is just as old-fashioned. The hamantaschen here, while good, were just a touch drier than the rest of the competition’s, and Sander’s got docked a point for two weird fillings: a rosemary-chocolate which tasted nothing like rosemary and an apricot that was way too sweet and didn’t taste like apricots at all. Still, Sander’s is a good choice if you’re in the area and are struck with a sweet tooth.
Best For: A taste of Brooklyn’s past.
Sander’s Kosher Bakery
159 Lee Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211
The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.