Chanukah Traditions

Of course we are all going to be frying (or buying) basic jelly doughnuts and flat potato latkes — after all, it’s tradition! Over the years we have given you lots of recipes for simple Chanukah treats along with more complicated dishes. Some prefer the classics and others go for the new and updated. Whichever you choose, your family is sure to be pleased. The most important tradition of all is getting together with your loved-ones and celebrating both the miracle of Chanukah and the miracle of family.

Roasted Tomato and Mozzarella Doughnuts

For the dough:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk (cold)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 cubes frozen basil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella

In the bowl of a mixer, combine all dough ingredients. No need to proof the instant yeast. Mix at low speed for 5 minutes or until smooth. Remove from mixer and place in an greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.

To make the roasted tomatoes, preheat oven to 300◦F. Line a sheet pan with foil and place tomatoes on the pan, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with herbs, salt and pepper. Roast until tomatoes are blistered, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Transfer tomatoes with oil and seasonings to a container and refrigerate until needed.

Remove the dough from the fridge and let it come back to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll it out to a 4-5” circle. Place 2-3 marinated tomatoes on the dough round and add 2 tablespoons of shredded mozzarella. Bring up the edges to form a ball around the filling, rolling gently on a floured surface to help shape it. Set aside. Repeat with remaining dough.

Preheat oven to 350◦F. Prepare a cooling rack over a sheet pan lined with paper towel.

Heat 3-4 inches of oil in a 6 quart stockpot until it reaches 325◦F on a deep-fry thermometer. Place 3-4 doughnuts in the oil and fry until golden, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from oil and place on the rack. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

Place rack and baking sheet in the oven and bake 10-12 minutes until the inside of the doughnuts is cooked through. Serve.

Pulled Beef Stuffed Latke Balls

This recipe uses our famous crispy latke recipe — with an added surprise center!

For the pulled beef:

1 small oyster steak or London broil (less than 12 ounces)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup hickory barbecue sauce

For the latkes:

  • 4 medium russet or new potatoes
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (fresh is best)
  • Canola or peanut oil for frying

Preheat oven to 350◦F. Place steak in a small baking pan. Season with salt and pepper, rubbing it in well. Pour the barbecue sauce over the meat and bake, covered, 1 hour or until fork tender. Shred using 2 forks.

Peel potatoes and place in cold water until you are ready to use them. Peel onions.

Shred potatoes, alternating with the onions. The juice in the onions will help keep the potatoes from turning brown. After all your potatoes are shredded or grated, place them in the center of a clean dish towel that has been set over a bowl. You may be able to do this in one batch, or divided into two or more. Fold the towel lengthwise over the potatoes and twist the ends as tightly as you can over the sink or bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Return potatoes to bowl. Add the eggs, salt and pepper.

Prepare a cooling rack set over a paper towel-lined sheet pan.

Heat 3–4” oil in a 4-6 quart stock pot. Heat the oil to 325◦F on a deep fry thermometer. Scoop up approximately 1/4 cup of batter in your hand or a scoop. Place 1 teaspoon pulled beef in the center and bring the potato shreds around the filling. Roll it lightly in your hands to shape. Place in the pan. Cook 5-7 minutes on each side, or until golden. Remove from oil and place on the rack to cool.

If not serving immediately, reheat in a 350◦F oven for 5-6 minutes.

(Yield 12-15 stuffed latkes)

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.

Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.