Thanksgivukkah is a glutton’s dream holiday. The excesses of Thanksgiving joined with the fried foods of Hanukkah — together again for the first time in 125 years. The media, the American public and the city of Boston are having a blast with this.
Recipes are flying, merchandise is selling and a woman in Boston trademarked the term “Thanksgivukkah” and started a Facebook page and Twitter account. There are songs, poems, videos, T-shirts and posters. The hybrid holiday was featured in a segment of the Colbert Report. One of the biggest things to come out of the new holiday is the menurkey, a menorah shaped like a turkey invented by a 9-year-old boy from New York.
But many of us are just in it for the food.
My son asked how we would recognize the culinary importance of both holidays at once. Without waiting for an answer, he suggested sweet potato latkes. I countered with cranberry-applesauce to go with them. Other examples:
- A New York bakery is serving turkey-and-cranberry-stuffed doughnuts. With or without gravy.
- Use challah instead of Pepperidge Farm pre-made cubes for stuffing.
- Turkeys could be brined in Manischewitz wine.
- There is a lot of chatter about sweet potato noodle kugel.
- Cranberry doughnuts can do double duty as traditional Thanksgiving fare and Hanukkah’s traditional sufganiyot, jelly-filled doughnuts.
- BuzzFeed came up with two good ones: pumpkin pie with a caraway-rye crust and Brussels sprouts with pastrami and pickled red onion.
- Italian Jews eat squash fritters on Hanukkah. That would work.
- Or you could make pumpkin-filled cannoli. (Recipe below.)
Oil is the byword of Hanukkah cooking. It celebrates the miracle of oil that lasted for eight days rather than the expected single day. So why not just deep fry a turkey for an all-in-one dish? Remember it’s your last chance to celebrate Thanksgivukkah for about 79,000 years.
This recipe comes courtesy of Marcia Friedman, who writes the blog Meatballs and Matzah Balls. For a Thanksgivukkah dessert, many people might turn to the traditional Hanukkah dessert of sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts). But Friedman believes Sicilian cannoli (“pipes”) perfectly represent a Jewish-Italian Hanukkah dessert. They combine a fried pastry shell (the oil part of Hanukkah food traditions) with a luscious creamy ricotta filling (a nod to some Hanukkah traditions of serving cheese). Fold some pumpkin into the filling and you've got Thanksgiving covered as well.
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 7½ tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting finished cannoli
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg plus additional for dusting (freshly grated if possible)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/3 cup plus ½ tablespoon canned pumpkin
- ¾ cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
- 12 regular-sized or 30 miniature cannoli shells*
Beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer on high speed until it holds stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the ricotta on high speed for 1 minute. Add the whipped cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg, allspice and ginger to the ricotta, and beat on medium-high speed 1 to 2 minutes, until very smooth and slightly fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin for another 30 to 60 seconds. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 6 hours.
Just before serving, use a small spoon to fill the shells with the filling. Dust the shells with confectioners’ sugar and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Sprinkle the ends with chopped pecans if desired. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for not more than 1 hour before serving -- they'll get soggy.
*Cannoli shells can be found in large grocery stores or Italian markets, and can be ordered online.