Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The holiday is known as the Festival of Lights and is celebrated over an eight day period in December. The miracle of Hanukkah was that Jewish followers only had enough oil to burn their lamp for one night and that same oil lasted eight days. Deep fried foods like jelly doughnuts and potato latkes are often served as a reminder of the miracle of the oil in the holiday’s history.
Fried foods are usually served each of the eight days. There are a few foods that are eaten every year as a tradition to the holiday. The jelly doughnuts are called sufganiyot and are round jelly doughnuts. The doughnut is deep-fried in oil, filled with jam or custard, and then topped with powdered sugar. Latkes are the most iconic Hanukkah dish for good reason. Latkes are shallow-fried pancakes of grated or ground potato, matzo meal or flour and a binding ingredient such as egg or applesauce, often flavored with grated garlic or onion and seasoning. These can be served as a savory or sweet dish.
When it comes to making doughnuts and latkes, there are a few tips for cooking that will give you the crispiest and freshest results.
- First, choose a neutral oil so no flavors overtake the doughnut or latkes.
- Sufganiyot are best fried in oil that is between 360 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- We recommend using fresh oil for the week of Hanukkah to keep foods fresh.
- Fry both treats in small batches to keep them from getting soggy.
- Russet potatoes will produce a crispier latke but any potato will do.
- Keep oil temperatures consistent for foods to produce the same quality of food each time.
If you do not celebrate Hanukkah, this year could be a great year to try some of the foods used during the celebration. With the pandemic changing most of our holiday plans, there’s no better time to find a recipe to recreate in the kitchen and learn a bit about a new holiday.