Hanukkah begins the evening of Saturday, December 8, and to help get everyone in the holiday spirit, we thought it would be fun to explore some traditional foods served around the festival of lights. If you weren’t hungry before, you will be after reading this post.
Familiar with sufganyiot? We weren’t either, until Park Slope Jewish Center’s Ruth Kaufman and Benjamin Resnick gave us some insight on this treat of all treats for the Hanukkah season.
Most holidays have their traditional foods and Chanukah/Hanukkah (with many spellings in between) is no exception. The widespread Jewish custom of eating dairy and fried foods – such as latkes (potato latkes served with sour cream or apply sauce) and sufganyiot – during the Festival of Lights stems from Hanukkah’s founding myth, in which a single cruse of ritual olive oil – enough for just one day – miraculously burned for eight days.
Sufganyiot are fried jelly donuts, which can be filled with almost anything, strawberry, cherry, pastry cream, etc. They are pretty much identical to the jelly donuts we’re all familiar with. Why the donuts are usually filled with jelly is a mystery. The Hebrew word sufganiyah is derived from the Hebrew word for sponge which describes how the donuts absorb oil.
Benjamin, a former chef and current rabbinic intern at PSJC, will be hosting a sufganyiot making workshop on Sunday, December 9 at 5pm. In addition to some unquestionably tasty donuts, there will be a candle lighting and Hanukkah party at 7pm. If interested, email Benjamin.Resnick@psjc.org for the event’s location and to RSVP.