2017-12-06 / Voice at the Shore

Dairy recipes celebrate a Chanukah heroine

ELLA RAPOPORT

Latkes and other foods fried in oil are traditional Chanukah foods—but they’re not the only ones, according to Ella Rapoport, program director and teacher for the Chabad Community Hebrew School. There is also a tradition of eating dairy to pay homage to Judith, a Jewish widow and the daughter of a high priest, who saved her village with a combination of cunning, bravery, wine and cheese.

The story is told that when the Maccabees were fighting the Greco-Syrians, an especially ruthless Greco-Syrian commander was about to capture a Jewish village. Judith went into the enemy camp and captivated the commander’s attention, bringing him cheese to make him thirsty and strong wine to make him drunk, said Rapoport. Once the drunk commander passed out, Judith slaughtered him and saved her town.

“To remind us of her heroism, we have a tradition of eating dairy foods,” noted Rapoport, who offered the following Chanukah dairy recipes:

CHEESE LATKES
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup cottage cheese, drained
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup oil for frying

Place all ingredients except oil together in a large bowl. Mix until smooth. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a 10-inch skillet. Using a large spoon, drop the batter into hot oil. Fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Continue until batter is used up, adding oil when necessary. The latkes may be served topped with sour cream, applesauce, or maple syrup. Yields 12 pancakes.

CREAM CHEESE
FROSTED DOUGHNUTS
2 ounces fresh yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 tsps sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp margarine
1 tbsp oil
4 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
Oil for frying

CREAM CHEESE
FROSTING
1 8-oz. package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter or
margarine (1 stick)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk/soy
milk/Rich’s whip

Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix with electric mixer. Spread over doughnuts. Enjoy

In a large bowl dissolve yeast in water and sugar. Allow to stand for several minutes until bubbly. Add remaining ingredients and knead until smooth, about 15-20 minutes. Cover dough and allow it to rise until doubled in bulk—about 1 hour.

Roll out dough 1/2-inch thick on floured surface. Cut into circles with doughnut cutter. Allow to rise again until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.

Heat 3-4 inches of oil in a 4- quart pot until hot. Deep fry doughnuts in hot oil with cover on pot (it makes doughnuts expand). When golden brown, remove cover, turn doughnuts over and brown on second side. Remove with slotted spoon. Drain and cool on paper towels. Frost with cream cheese frosting. Yields 4-dozen doughnuts. 

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