My Mother’s Hamantaschen _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --Hamantaschen, the traditional cookie for the Jewish holiday of Purim, is said to resemble the three-cornered hat worn by Haman, the villain in the Biblical Book of Esther.

Hamantaschen Fillings

Recipes are from “The Gourmet Jewish Cook” by Judy Zeidler, who writes that everyone in her family has his or her favorite hamantaschen filling. “If I don’t have the time to prepare the filling from scratch, I often use ready-made fillings — apricot, prune, poppyseed and almond — that can be found in supermarkets.”

Apple Filling

Makes about 2 cups.

1 cup applesauce

1/2 cup raisins, plumped and drained

1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1?8 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Caramel Pecan Filling

Makes about 3 cups. This will keep for at least 1 week.

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2 cups toasted chopped pecans

7 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine

1/2 cup warm milk

1/4 cup honey

1. In a heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil, mixing with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the pecans, butter and milk.

2. Return to heat, stirring constantly, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the honey.

3. Transfer to an ovenproof glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set.

Chocolate Filling

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup milk, cream or coffee

1 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and blend thoroughly.

Walnut Honey Filling

Makes about 2 cups.

1 cup toasted chopped walnuts

3/4 cup honey

1?3 cup bread crumbs

Zest of 1 orange

1. In a saucepan, cook the walnuts, honey and crumbs over low heat, stirring constantly until thick, about 5 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, stir in the orange zest and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.