Hanukkah Traditions


Hanukkah Traditions


Date: December 5, 2012
by: Yaryna Klimchak | Staff Writer



Treats to Eat and to Share
Rachel Lenerz teaches her children the value of charity with a few tasty traditions during Hanukkah. Lenerz makes sufganiyot, or Israeli donuts, with Ava, her 4-year-old daughter, and Leo, her 6-year-old son. Asked what is Hanukkah about, Leo says, “It’s about giving and not just presents.”

Lenerz and her children make sufganiyot for the seniors at the Kobernick House and other holiday events. The children spend time with the seniors and enjoy a sugary treat that they helped create. Lenerz never made the donuts with her family growing up but decided to begin the tradition when she had children.

“I try to instill in the kids one should try to give back in any aspect you can,” she says.

Sufganiyot is considered to be more of an Israeli treat that has made its way to the U.S. Leo and Ava insert the jelly and chocolate filling into the donuts before rolling them around in powdered sugar. As they take a bite of the sugary treat, powdered sugar gets on their noses. It’s clear Lenerz has created a lasting family tradition for her little helpers.

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup and 3 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt
4 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
6 cups canola oil
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup strawberry jam

Mix together self-rising flour, vanilla yogurt, granulated sugar, vanilla and eggs.
Knead the dough (it gets sticky).
Cover the dough with a dishtowel and let it sit for 30 minutes.
While the dough is rising, heat canola oil on medium heat.
When getting ready to put the mixture in, turn heat to medium high.
Use a spoon to gather a ball of the mixture.
Drop mixture into the hot oil. You will know the oil is hot enough because the mixture will float to the top. One ball, or donut, cooks for about two to three minutes.
While the donut mixture is in the pot, continue turning it until it turns golden brown.
Scoop out the donut with a slotted spoon and put on a paper towel for the oil to drain. Let it sit and cool for a few minutes. Inject the jelly into the donut with a pastry syringe.
Roll the donut in powdered sugar. Enjoy and eat.

Latke Experiment
Ricky Burton has been cooking — and eating — latkes since he was a child. He remembers his mother, a Romanian immigrant to Canada, making them at home. Fried foods are eaten during Hanukkah to celebrate the story of a miracle when a one-day oil supply burned for eight days in the Temple in Jerusalem. Burton has always loved to experiment with cooking, and it shows because he uses zucchini and carrots, in addition to the potatoes and onions in his latkes.

“He is an inventive cook and always likes to try something different,” says Lin Burton, Ricky’s wife. “It gives them a different flavor.”

When his children were young, Burton went to their kindergarten class and made latkes with the students. He showed the kids how to grate the vegetables and squeeze the vegetable mix to release the water. Burton then fried the latkes on a portable electric stove while the children eagerly waited to see what they had helped create.

He continues to fry his multi-vegetable latkes and always adds applesauce or sour cream on top at the end.

3 or 4 Yukon gold potatoes (you can also use sweet potatoes)
1 sweet onion
1 or 2 carrots
1 or 2 small zucchini
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flour, matzoh or potato starch
1/4-inch vegetable oil in a frying pan
Salt and pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes.
On the coarse side of a grater, grate carrots, zucchini, onion and potatoes into one bowl. Longer pieces tend to hold together better.
Squeeze out excess water from vegetables with your hands.
Add in two eggs and flour, matzoh or potato starch.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix it all up.
In a frying pan, heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat.
Using a large spoon, deposit the latkes into the oil. Flatten them a little. Do not crowd the pan with too many latkes, and be careful of splashing hot oil.
Fry for a of couple of minutes, until golden brown, then flip over and fry the other side.
Take the fried latkes out of oil and put them on a paper towel.
Pat them down and enjoy.

Grandma’s Strudel: A Delicious Memory
Alyson Zildjian has been cooking and making apple walnut strudel since she was a child. She remembers making the flaky pastry with her Austrian grandmother.

“The strudel is more Eastern European than anything,” Zildjian says. “We would always have a pastry with our tea.”

She remembers eating latkes, brisket and her grandmother’s apple walnut strudel during Hanukkah. The aroma of sweet apples and melted butter drifts through the kitchen as Zildjian talks about continuing the tradition with her children.

“It’s a family recipe because the kids can peel the apples and butter the phyllo,” she says. Zildjian also serves Bubbie’s Strudel to customers who order from her catering business. When she pulls the golden flaky pastry out of the oven, the smell immediately permeates the air.

“This smell in my house brings back memories of my grandmother,” she says.

1 package phyllo sheets
1 tablespoon butter and 2 sticks melted butter, clarified
1/2 cup amaretto cookie or graham cracker crumbs
6 green apples, peeled, cored and sliced (about 2 pounds apples)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup total granulated sugar and packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
12 ounces nonfat vanilla yogurt or frozen vanilla yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt one tablespoon of butter in the pan, and add sugar, stirring. When the sugar dissolves, add the apples, golden raisins, cinnamon and walnuts in a saucepan, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Let stand for 10 minutes to cool.

Take one piece of phyllo and lay on a work surface. Using a pastry brush, lightly butter entire sheet, then sprinkle cookie crumbs, then add another sheet on top, butter, and sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Add a third sheet, butter, then spread the apple mixture across the bottom of the phyllo. Roll the phyllo in a jelly roll-like fashion. Brush the top with melted butter.

Place the roll on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or use parchment paper and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing. Arrange on serving plates.
Serve with vanilla yogurt or frozen vanilla yogurt and top with mint and raspberries.

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