This holiday season brings a rare coincidence: Hanukkah starts on Thanksgiving, and pundits have been chortling about Thanksgivukkah, menurkeys and whether it’s kosher to cry “Gobble tov!”
Even Manischewitz has set up a website dubbed Thanksgivukah.com (with one “K,” not two) with recipes for Pilgrims’ Potato Kugel and dishes that call for “the official broth of Thanksgivukah.”
The two holidays have not coincided like this since 1888, and they may not do it again for another 70,000 years, so Jewish chefs and home cooks are mulling the options. Stuff the turkey with challah? Make latkes with sweet potatoes? And what about dessert?
So we turned to pastry chef and food writer Paula Shoyer, author of the new “Holiday Kosher Baker” (Sterling, $35, 288 pages), for ideas. Shoyer has riffed on holiday sweets for years, making hamantaschen in every flavor, from green tea to red velvet, for Purim, and playing with flavors for jelly-filled sufganiyot or doughnuts for Hanukkah. Her first batch of cinnamon-kissed pumpkin doughnuts emerged from the fryer several years ago, long before it had dawned on anyone that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah might ever coincide.
“It never crossed my mind that Thanksgiving and Hanukkah would be on the same day,” she said. “For culinary people, it’s very exciting.”
Shoyer gets creative with her weekly Shabbat menus, but when it comes to the big holidays, she has always been a traditionalist. Thanksgiving means roast turkey. Hanukkah is brisket, with latkes and doughnuts, the fried food an homage to the oil that burned so brightly and so long. Now she’s sharing five ways to combine the two traditional menus – without losing the pumpkin pie.
“Pull the flavors of Thanksgiving into the Jewish stuff,” she says, “or the Jewish flavors into the Thanksgiving stuff.”
Below is an Associated Press recipe combining the traditions of both holidays: pumpkin latkes. They are topped with cranberry-spiked sour cream, but applesauce would be just as delicious. At far right is a mashup of holiday fruits: apple-cranberry sauce.