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Illumination of a Menorah, from
the Jewish Cervera Bible, 1299
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Hanukah Dreidel with Gelt
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Star of David Symbol
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Chanukah Candles and Star of David
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La Belle Cuisine
"Chanukah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival
is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish
month of Kislev.
Jewish Year 5771: sunset December 1, 2010 - nightfall December 9, 2010
(first candle: night of 12/1 last candle: night of 12/8)"
More info here.
('Fiddler on the Roof')
"Who must know the way to make a proper home,
A quiet home, a kosher home?
Who must raise the family and run the home,
So Papa's free to read the holy books?
The Mama, the Mama! Tradition!
The Mama, the Mama! Tradition!"
Continued (pg 3)
Our purpose here, of course, is not to attempt to
educate you on Jewish tradition (Chanukah or otherwise) but to further
enrich La Belle Cuisine and its visitors
with more traditional Jewish
recipes. Holiday traditions, their history, (and the
food that accompanies them) interest me considerably. Therefore, with
heartfelt thanks to our friends at
chabad.org, we present the following brief introduction
to the traditional Chanukah celebration:
Chanukah in a Nutshell
"Chanukah -- the eight-day festival of light that begins on the eve of Kislev 25 -- celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.
More than twenty-one centuries ago, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Against
all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on
earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem
and rededicated it to the service of G-d.
When they sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found only a single cruse
of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the
one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under
of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting: a single
flame on the first night, two on the second evening, and so on till the eighth
of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled."
So, just exactly what is a "traditional" Chanukah menu? As best we've been
able to determine, the primary consideration seems to be cooking in oil. There
seems to be a lot of emphasis in particular on cooking
potato latkes in oil. Yum! Once again,
a brief explanation courtesy chabad.org:
Oil and Cheese
"Chanukah commemorates an oil-based miracle—which explains why we eat
oily foods to commemorate it. Some eat fried potato pancakes, a.k.a latkes,
others eat sufganiyot—deep-fried doughnuts. Some eat both. Most
survive the holiday.
Yes, food can be dangerous. One of the greatest Maccabee victories was the
result of feeding the enemy cheese—so we also eat dairy foods on Chanukah.
Again, we survive."
Okay. Sounds great! But a potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts do not a
holiday meal make, right? Right! Research tells us that a roast (let's just
say brisket) with root vegetables is borderline mandatory. Most certainly
traditional. And yes, roast chicken with root vegetables is fine as well.
Latkes are a given. Green vegetables and salad too, if you like, just
So what about those deep-fried doughnuts (sufganiyot)?
Well, I'm glad you asked...
"A well-known bakery in Jerusalem produces over 200,000
of these each day during the month leading up to Chanukah."
2 packages yeast
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 or 5 cups flour
3 egg yolks
Jelly of your choice for filling
Mix water, sugar, juice, and yeast. Let stand 10 minutes. Melt margarine
and add to yeast mixture. Beat in eggs and salt. Add flour, mixing and kneading by hand to form a soft dough. Let rise 1-1/2 hours. Roll dough
1/4 inch thick and cut circles (approximately 2 inches). Let circles rise
Deep fry at 400 degrees F about 3 minutes, turning once. Pipe in jelly
and roll in powdered sugar.
Spiced Cake Doughnuts
by Lauren Groveman
Yield: 16 to 20 three-inch doughnuts
on if adding the suggested embellishments)
"Although cake doughnuts are especially easy to make, since the holidays are usually hectic, why not make one or more separate sifted batches of your dry
mixture (NOW) before the holidays begin and store them in labeled and sealed
plastic bags. That way, when you want to make doughnuts, it's really easy to assemble the dough. And, since doughnuts doused with sugar that's flavored
with either cinnamon or cocoa is my family's favorite, I also make a big batch
of the sugar coating and keep it in a bag, as well.
Although the listed embellishments to both, the spiced doughnut dough and
he chocolate variation are optional, they do add an interesting dimension to
the texture and a delicious taste. Before making doughnuts, be sure to read
my "doughnut making tips" and, when working with children, make sure to
have all of your decorating sugars, glazes, etc. made as well as any added
toppings assembled. This way, you're all set to just have fun!"
3 or 4-inch doughnut cutter
3 cups sifted unbleached, all-purpose flour
(sift before measuring), plus more, as needed,
1 cup (un-sifted) cake flour
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
(preferably freshly grated)
1 1/2 teaspoons fine table salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips or
dried (but supple) currants
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream (close to
1/4 cup milk
4 generous tablespoons
1) To assemble the doughnut dough: Whisk the sifted flour with the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sift this
into another bowl. (If planning to add either of the optional embellish-
ments, whisk them in now.) In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with
a paddle attachment (or using a wooden spoon). Beat the sugar with the
eggs, until light-colored and increased in volume (mixture will be loose).
Blend in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk the sour cream, shortening
and milk together, until well blended. Add the sour cream mixture to the
egg mixture, alternating with the dry ingredients and, when blended, chill
the dough for 2 hours.
2) To set up to make doughnuts: When getting ready to shape doughnuts, place a large wide pot on the stove and fill it half way with fresh vegetable
oil. Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pot, making sure that
the mercury tip is suspended half way down the depth of oil (so it does not
touch the bottom of the pan). Heat the oil to between 365 and 375 degrees
F, and maintain this temperature while you cut your doughnuts.
3) To shape and fry doughnuts: Turn the chilled dough out onto a lightly floured surface and, like you were working with biscuit dough, knead the
mixture gently and superficially, just to smooth out the exterior. Pat, then
roll the dough out, 1/2-inch thick and cut out doughnuts and holes, using
a floured doughnut cutter. Fry the doughnuts until golden, turning them
once, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on each side, keeping an eye on your ther- mometer and regulating the heat so the oil doesn't either get too hot or
cool down too much. Remove the doughnuts with a slotted implement,
and let them drain on paper towels. .Drain them well on doubled paper
towels. Line several wire cooling racks with doubled paper towels.
For deep-dark chocolate doughnuts (with or without chocolate chips):
Reduce the sifted all-purpose flour to 2 3/4 cups and the cake flour to
1/2 cup. Add 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
an additional 1/3 cup of powdered sugar to the dry ingredients, before
sifting. Omit the spices but keep the baking powder, soda, salt eggs and
granulated sugar the same but increase the vanilla to 2 teaspoons. After
sifting the dry ingredients, if desired, whisk in 1 cup mini chocolate chips. Follow the remaining instructions for making spiced cake doughnuts,
using this mixture. (Don't be alarmed when you feel the increased stiff-
ness in this particular dough after being chilled for 2 hours. This is inten-
tional for easier rolling.)
Yield: 18 doughnuts when using the chocolate
chips or about 15 when not.
Doughnut making tips...
Be sure to roll the dough out to the proper thickness before cutting out doughnuts. Remember, both variations are leavened with baking powder
and will expand in the hot oil. If rolled and cut too thick at the onset, they
will require longer cooking which will likely cause the outsides to burn.
Try to cut out as many doughnuts as possible the first time you roll the dough. Excessive gathering of dough scraps and rerolling can adversely
When working with children, save the decorating part for them. It's safest
to have most of your doughnuts already fried and drained before begin-
ning or set up to decorate in a completely different section of the kitchen.
If desired, show the kids how the last few doughnuts are fried, so they understand the entire process.
Never fill a pot more than half way with oil.
Don't crowd the pot when frying doughnuts since this will make the temperature of the oil drop severely causing the doughnuts to absorb too much oil. It's best to use a large, wide pot so the doughnuts can sit freely
and have enough surface space in between them when frying.
Let the oil reach the desired temperature before frying each successive
batch of doughnuts.
For the best finish on sugar-coated doughnuts, shake them in sugar when
still a bit warm and then again, when the doughnuts are completely cool.
And, when applying a glaze to the tops of doughnuts (whether chocolate
or vanilla or colored), do this when the doughnuts are completely cool.
If you'd like to purchase plain store-bought doughnuts and decorate them,
as described here, that's fine. For sugar-coated doughnuts, just re-warm
them briefly on a wire rack set within a shallow baking sheet, in a 350-
degree F oven. Let them stay on the rack until barely warm before shaking them in the sugar of your choice. Shake twice, for best coverage.
To make a liquid glaze pipe-able, make it thicker by adding more sifted powdered sugar. When thick enough to hold it's shape, it's fine for piping through a plastic squeeze bottle, with a 1/4-inch opening (if your opening
is too small, snip off the tip using kitchen scissors. If, when assembling,
the glaze becomes too stiff to pipe, stir in a few drops of milk or water.
If, while decorating your doughnuts, the glaze becomes too stiff to pipe,
plant the squeeze bottle in a drinking glass half-full with hot tap water,
for a few minutes.
If you'd like to completely cover the doughnuts with a topping (like shred-
ded coconut or ground toasted coconut), make a generous amount of a somewhat thin glaze, using powdered sugar and egg white or water, in a
pie plate. Dip a doughnut into the glaze, then turn it over to coat the other
side. Use a chop stick or the stem end of a thin wooden spoon to remove
the doughnut from the glaze and lay it directly on a plate filled with your
topping. Cover both sides, using your hands to help the topping adhere.
Let the doughnuts "set" on trays lined with parchment paper, turning
them once the top side is set.
Doughnut Storage Tips...
Unglazed doughnuts (and without a sugared finish) can be frozen, once
cool, if laid flat in a heavy-duty plastic container, separated by sheets of
wax paper. To use them, reheat them (frozen) on a wire rack place on
a shallow baking sheet in a preheated 350-degree F oven for about 10
minutes, or until warmed throughout. At this point, you can apply a
sugar coating. Let the doughnuts cool before applying a glaze.
Chanukah pg 1
Chanukah pg 2
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