Caramel Apple Filling for Hamantaschen

Every year at Purim, I like to experiment with a new hamantaschen flavor. I always make our standard family classics– poppy seed, apricot, prune, and Nutella (my stepdaughter’s favorite!). Then I throw in a couple of new flavors to change things up. If the family likes them, I add them to the list for next year.

This year, I tried to come up with a filling that was really unique… something I’ve never seen before. I recently learned how to make dulce de leche in the oven, and I’ve been addicted ever since. The sweet, creamy, lightly salted caramel flavor is so amazing, and it’s surprisingly simple to make. My mind started drifting to ways I could use it in a hamantaschen filling. Most hamantaschen fillings I’ve used in the past are fruit based. What fruit goes best with caramel flavor? Why apple, of course!

Then I remembered that a few years ago I found a recipe for dulce de manzana, a Sephardic Jewish dish for Rosh Hashanah. The dish is made by grating apples and boiling them in sugar syrup, then reducing them till a thick, rich apple sauce forms. Why not combine the two ideas – dulce de leche and dulce de manzana – to create a brand new hamantaschen filling? My Caramel Apple Hamantaschen Filling was born!

For this recipe, you’ll need to make a batch of dulce de leche. It’s super easy to make (and safe– no can boiling required). Click here for the recipe. You’ll only use 1/3 cup of the dulce de leche in this recipe, which means you’ll have about a cup left over. Save the rest to use as a topping for ice cream, pour it over pancakes or crepes, or do what I do and eat it by the spoonful… it’s that good!

Need a delicious and foolproof dough recipe? Check out my Dairy Free Hamantaschen and Buttery Hamantaschen doughs. When baked into a tasty dough, this filling provides a lovely burst of caramel apple sweetness in the center of your hamantaschen cookie. What a treat!

For tips on How to Make Perfect Hamantaschen, click here.

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Caramel Apple Hamantaschen Filling


You will also need

  • Grater or food processor with grating attachment, saucepan
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Servings: About 1 1/2 cups filling
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Before you begin this recipe, you'll need to make a batch of dulce de leche - click for recipe. The process is very easy, but it takes about 90 minutes. To save time, you can make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator till you're ready to begin.
  • Peel and core the apples. Shred them into fine shreds using a hand grater or food processor shredding attachment.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and 3/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the shredded apples to the boiling water and return to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium and let the mixture simmer for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally, till most of the liquid evaporates and the mixture resembles a very thick applesauce. When the mixture is ready, it will start to sizzle lightly in the pan and clump together when you stir it. Don't let the mixture burn, but do let it get quite thick.
  • Stir in the dulce de leche; add salt to taste. The salt adds depth and gives the flavor of a salted caramel. It also offsets the sweetness a bit.
  • Note that the filling is quite sweet on its own (it may initially taste "too sweet"), but it bakes to perfection when used for filling hamantaschen. Let the mixture cool.
  • Refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour before using it to fill hamantaschen; this will thicken it and make it easier to manage when filling.
  • Use filling with your favorite hamantaschen dough. Use about 1 tsp of filling per cookie. For dough recipe suggestions, see blog above.

Comments (24)Post a Comment

  1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    This looks and sounds absolutely fantastic!!! Love you used dulce de leche, it’s just such a great idea. My only problem is that I probably won’t be able to stop eating those once I make them… But they are way too tempting not to make! :)

  2. Know what would make the Dulce de Leche filling fabulous?
    Instead of adding salt to the filling, sprinkle some sea salt on the top.

  3. These hamantaschen were the best ever, the filling is so different. My whole family loved them. I love to visit your blog, it’s really inspiring. Thanks for sharing the lovely recipe.

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    These were amazing! I used your butter dough and made the caramel apple and chocolate chip cream cheese fillings. I also filled some with straight up dulce de leche (man, that stuff is good!) I really wanted to make your poppyseed filling, because those were always my favorite as a kid, but my food processor couldn’t grind the seeds. But it’s a delicious recipe, with very clear instructions and wonderful step-by-step pictures to help me make sure I had it right along the way. Thank you!

  5. Can’t you just make applesauce the usual way then add the dulce de leche? When I make applesauce I cut up apples skin, pits and all and cook them down then I put it all through a food mill. Makes the best applesauce and no need to peel and pit. Also, you don’t need to add sugar. The sugar in the dulce de leche is enough to kill you anyway.

    1. Hi Phyllis, if you taste the filling and feel it doesn’t need any extra sugar, then don’t add any. As always, all ingredients are “to taste.” Only a small amount of filling is used in each cookie- a teaspoon- so I wasn’t too worried about the sugar content here, and I felt the dulce de leche did not add enough sweetness to the filling on its own (that’s a personal preference though). Be careful using the pits when making applesauce though… the seeds contain small levels of arsenic, which is toxic. I’d remove them before cooking them down by simply coring the apples before cutting them up, that way you won’t be leeching any toxins into the applesauce as the apples cook down.

  6. Hi Shiksa,

    How about sharing the favorite Hamantaschen dough recipe, to go with the filling? I love the buttery crispy kind…

  7. I was just thinking about an apple filling today, and thank you for supplying it….. I’m also thinking of making a medjool date/walnut/shredded coconut filling…no extra sugar needed, but maybe a pinch of cinnamon, or a few drops of fresh lemon , orange or pineapple juice……… Happy Purim !

  8. OMG! I can’t believe I didn’t discover this recipe until 3 pm erev Purim.

    So it’s wait until next year … or please give me some other ideas I can use this filling for. It looks delish!

    1. Yes you can, but cook it down to the same thick consistency in the photos and make sure you use natural unsweetened applesauce (the dulce de leche is quite sweet on its own). You can always add more sugar if needed.

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