Jewish bakery in South Philly celebrates Purim with hamantaschen

Hadas Kuznits
March 06, 2020 - 6:00 am
Hamantaschen at Essen Bakery

Courtesy of Tova du Plessis


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Essen Bakery in South Philadelphia returns with a traditional holiday cookie in some less conventional flavors.

Tova du Plessis, owner of the Jewish bakery on East Passyunk Avenue, is celebrating Purim with classic hamantaschen. The holiday begins Monday night, and the three-pointed cookies will be available this weekend and throughout the week.

On Purim, Jews often celebrate by dressing up and performing skits of the Purim story, in which Queen Esther saved the Jewish people from Haman. The three points of the hamantaschen represent Haman’s hat.

“The cookie has three corners like his hat did,” du Plessis explained. “Haman was the bad guy in the story, and it's a bit of a crazy holiday. It's probably one of the most fun Jewish holidays. It involves drinking and partying, getting dressed up (in costumes), giving gifts of food, giving charity and eating these hamantaschen.”

Don’t be taschen my Hamantaschen! Available ALL next week Tues-Sun. Call/email to preorder. ------

A post shared by Essen Bakery (@essenbakery) on

The South Africa native said the cookie dough is actually very simple.

“It's kind of similar to a shortbread — a little sturdier so that you could shape it and it holds its shape, but it's a little soft inside. I really like that sort of soft cookie dough; that's our style,” she said.

Hamantaschen traditionally have different flavored fillings.

“We'll have poppy filling, which is traditionally called mohn. We'll have a prune, or lekvar. We'll have chocolate tihina, and then we'll do our own jam. We're thinking pear rose this year and an apricot one.”

Tova du Plessis
Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio

Du Plessis, who was named a James Beard semifinalist last week for the fourth time in a row, said her favorite flavor often gets a bad reputation.

“My favorite flavor is actually prune. I'm like an old person. I love prunes,” she said.

For more on Purim treats, listen to the KYW Newsradio original podcast What’s Cooking on the RADIO.COM app.