The following recipes are taken from Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook, with excerpts from Nathan's informative introductions to each recipe. Nathan offers Jewish Holiday Cookbook as a combining and updating of two previous classic volumes on Jewish holiday fare.
Romanian Fried Noodle Pudding
"Potato latkes may not be essential to Hanukkah, but cooking with oil is. If you want a change from potato pancakes, try this Romanian fried noodle pudding, which goes well with sauerbraten or roast goose."
8 ounces fine egg noodles
2 tablespoons pareve margarine
1 large onion, diced
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper
1. Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package and drain. Transfer to a large bowl and add the margarine, blending well. Set aside.
2. Saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of the oil until golden. Add the onion to the noodles. Add the eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Mix all the ingredients well.
3. Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy frying pan. Add the noodle mixture and let it brown on the bottom and sides, taking care not to burn it.
4. When it is browned on one side, place a large plate over the pan. Turn it over onto the plate and then slide it back into the pan to brown the other side.
Serves 4-6 (Pareve)
"What exactly is the Hanukkah-latke connection? "Latke" is the Yiddish word for pancake. ...It is the same food that the Jews living in the Pale of Settlement in the seventeenth century probably adapted for Hanukkah. Because their daily diet consisted of potatoes and bread, they wanted to include a special dish cooked in oil to symbolize the main miracle of Hanukkah. ...[Latkes] can be eaten plain or fancy, with sugar, applesauce, sour cream, or even chicken soup."
10 medium russet or baking potatoes
2 medium onions
2 large or 3 medium eggs
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, bread crumbs, or matzah meal
Salt and white pepper
1. Peel the potatoes if the skin is coarse; otherwise, just clean them well. Keep them in cold water until ready to prepare the latkes.
2. Starting with the onions, alternately grate some of the onions on the large holes of the grater and some of the potatoes on the smallest holes. This will keep the potato mixture from blackening. Press out as much liquid as possible and reserve the starchy sediment at the bottom of the bowl. Return the sediment to the mixture.*
3. Blend the potato mixture with the eggs, flour, and salt and pepper to taste.
4. Heat 1 inch of oil in a frying pan. Drop about 1 tablespoon of mixture for each latke into the skillet and fry, turning once. When golden and crisp on both sides, drain on paper towels. Serve with yogurt, sour cream, sugar, or applesauce.
*The steel blade of a food processor or the grating blade are less painful ways of grating the potatoes and the onions. The blade makes a smooth consistency and the grater a crunchy one.
Serves 8-10 (Pareve)
Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts)
"Every bakery in Jerusalem, no matter the ethnic origin of the baker, makes these jelly doughnuts for Hanukkah. They used to consist of two rounds of dough sandwiching some jam, and the jam always ran out during the frying. Today, with new injectors on the market, balls of dough can be deep-fried first and then injected with jam before being rolled in sugar. This is a much easier, quicker way of doing them. And no jam escapes."
2 scant tablespoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
4 tablespoons sugar, plus sugar for rolling
3/4 cup lukewarm water or milk
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
2 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter or pareve margarine, at room temperature
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup plum, strawberry or apricot jam
1. Sprinkle the yeast and 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the water or milk and stir to dissolve.
2. Place the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, egg yolks, salt, cinnamon, butter, and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Knead well, about 5 minutes, working the butter or margarine into the dough and kneading until the dough is elastic. You can also use a food processor fitted with a steel blade to do this, processing about 2 minutes.
3. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator.
4. Sprinkle flour on the work surface. Roll out the dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter or floured drinking glass, cut out circles. Let the dough circles rise 15 minutes more.
5. With your hands, gently form the dough circles into balls.
6. Pour 2 inches of oil into a heavy pot and heat until very hot, about 375 degrees.
7. Slip the doughnuts into the oil, 4 or 5 at a time, using a slotted spoon. Turn them when brown, after a few minutes, to crisp on the other side. Drain on paper towels.
8. Using an injector available at cooking stores, inject a teaspoon of jam into each doughnut. Then roll all of them in granulated sugar and serve immediately. You can make larger sufraniyot if you like.
Makes 24 2-inch-wide sufganiyot (Pareve or Dairy)
Mandelbrot (Almond Bread)
"Mandelbrot is a typical cookie for Saturday afternoon tea. This recipe is a perfect accompaniment to a fruit dessert."
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted pareve margarine or butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whiskey or brandy
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup grated unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup slivered, blanched, and toasted almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour 3 pans approximately 4 1/2 by 10 inches.
2. Cream together the margarine or butter and sugar.
3. Beat the eggs well and combine slowly with the margarine or butter. Add the vanilla and whiskey. If the mixture looks curdled, add a little of the flour.
4. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Add to the margarine or butter mixture. Mix well.
5. Blend in the raisins, coconut, walnuts, and almonds and turn the dough into the prepared pans.
6. Bake about 30 minutes, until done. Cool and slice thin. Arrange on a baking sheet and place in a 400-degree oven for a few minutes until golden brown.
Makes 3 loaves (Pareve or Dairy)