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Hanukkah And Thanksgiving, A Culinary Convergence

It’s a Twitter hashtag, a t-shirt, a Wikipedia page and now a holiday coming to your dinner table: Thanksgivukkah. For the first time since 1888, Hanukkah begins on Thanksgiving Day, and won’t do so again for another 70,000 years. The rare alignment has chefs and food companies alike salivating over new, delicious ways to combine traditional foods from each holiday. Turkey stuffed with challah? Latkes as appetizers? Cranberry babka? We dive into this culinary convergence and find out how you can create a tasty Thanksgivukkah table.

Unique Ways To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah

From blended Thanksgiving and Hanukkah menus to DIY decorations, Thanksgivukkah is bringing out the creativity among its celebrants. We asked our listeners how they're marking the once-in-a-lifetime holiday. Fruit-filled doughnuts, sweet potato noodle kugel and challah stuffing are going to be part of many Thanksgivukkah menus. And all manner of latkes -- turkey fat-fried latkes, latke stuffing, traditional potato latkes along with mashed potatoes -- will be represented. One family's dinner table will even feature a "Challurkey," a special challah bread in the shape of a turkey. To accompany the feast, some listeners said they're filling cornucopias with dreidels or gelt, and mixing festive autumn decor with custom menorahs. Finally, many listeners said they'll be using the holiday as an extra special time to think about what they're thankful for.

Get more decor, favors and menu ideas in the photo gallery below.

Thanksgivukkah Recipes

nutmeg doughnuts

Nutmeg Doughnuts With Cranberry Curd Filling

Yields two dozen doughnuts.

For the doughnuts:

2 packages active dry yeast (1/2 oz. total)
1 1/2 cups milk or unflavored soy milk, heated to 115°
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing (for non-dairy doughnuts, substitute corn oil or Earth Balance)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg plus 3 egg yolks
4 3/4 cups (1 lb. 5 oz.) all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
Canola oil, for frying
1 1/2 cups cranberry curd, for filling (see below)
Powdered sugar, for dusting

For the cranberry curd:

3/4 pounds (12 oz.) fresh or frozen cranberries
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks (for non-dairy, use Earth Balance or coconut oil)

Make the doughnut dough: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Beat 1/2 cup sugar and butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until fluffy. Add yeast mixture, vanilla, nutmeg, salt, egg, and yolks; beat until combined. With the motor running, slowly add flour; beat until dough is smooth. Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Make the cranberry curd: In a small saucepan, heat cranberries, 1/4 sugar, and water on medium. Cook until cranberries have turned completely soft and there are no whole pieces left, adding water by the tablespoon if cranberries stick to the bottom of the pan. Push the mixture through a strainer.

Add a couple inches of water to the pot of a double boiler and set over medium heat. Put egg yolks, butter/oil, and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in the bowl of the double boiler and whisk to combine. When sugar has dissolved completely, remove bowl from heat and add the cranberry puree by the spoonful, to temper the eggs. When all rhubarb has been added, set bowl over pot; the water should be simmering. Continue stirring the cranberry mixture; after about 5 minutes, the mixture will be warm and slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and again press through a strainer — this will give your curd that smooth, pudding-like texture.

Finish the doughnuts: On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14″ round about 1/2-inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch ring cutter, cut dough into 20 rounds; gather and reuse scraps. Transfer rounds to lightly greased parchment paper—lined baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Heat 2 inches of oil in a 6-quart pot until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. I found the doughnuts slipped off the parchment paper quite easily using a delicate hand and some patience, but if you’re nervous about messing up their shapes, you can do as Saveur recommends and cut the the parchment paper into squares around each doughnut, so each doughnut is on its own little piece of parchment, making the transfer easier. Working in batches, place donuts in oil, paper side up, using tongs to quickly peel off and discard paper. Cook until puffed and golden, about 75 seconds per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking sheet with a wire rack; let cool completely.

Fit a pastry bag with a plain 1/4-inch tip and fill with curd. Working with one doughnut at a time, insert tip about 1/2-inch deep into the side of doughnut, pipe 2 tablespoons of curd in, and set aside.

Dust filled doughnuts with powdered sugar before serving.

Doughnuts will keep for the better part of a day, but not longer. No excuse: eat up!

Reprinted with permission of Rivka Friedman and the Not Derby Pie blog. Friedman generously shared her Thanksgivukkah plans and recipe with us through the Public Insight Network. Find out more about the network and becoming a source for WAMU 88.5 and The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

chocolate lollipops

Easy And Fast Chocolate Thanksgivukkah Lollipops

Get chocolate wafers in your preferred colors. I selected blue for Hanukkah, and brown and orange for Thanksgiving fall colors. Select seasonal festive plastic lollipop molds (I used “Happy Hanukkah” circles, Turkeys, and Pumpkins). Purchase lollipop sticks.

Melt chocolate wafers in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup in microwave. One pound of chocolate will take one to two minutes to melt depending on your microwave’s wattage.
Use 30 second intervals to melt chocolate, stirring in between.

If the chocolate is too thick, add a tiny drop of vegetable oil and stir it in. Some colored chocolates may take a little longer time to melt.

Place lollipop sticks into the empty molds and then fill carefully spooning the chocolate into the mold. Have several spoons ready for easy and clean filling of the molds.

If you want to use multiple colors, add the bottom color first and then place in freezer until solid. Then add later colors one at a time.

Place all in freezer for at least thirty minutes or more. Then gently pop out of mold, wait until it is room temperature, and place in clear plastic bag and tie with ribbon. Enjoy!

Reprinted with permission of Dana Marlowe. Marlowe generously shared her Thanksgivukkah plans and recipe with us through the Public Insight Network. Find out more about the network and becoming a source for WAMU 88.5 and The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

pumpkin doughnuts

Pumpkin Doughnuts

Pumpkin purée and classic pumpkin pie spices give these doughnuts a soft, comforting texture and taste. Nut-free and parve. Yields 15 doughnuts.


1/4 ounce (1 envelope; 7g) dry yeast
1/4 cup (60ml) warm water
1/4 cup (50g) plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup (80ml) soy milk
2 tablespoons (28g) margarine, at room temperature for at least 15 minutes
1 large egg
1/2 cup (120g) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3–3 1/4 cups (375–405g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
canola oil for frying
1/4 cup (30g) confectioners’ sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, place the yeast, warm water, and one teaspoon of sugar and stir. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until thick.

Add the remaining sugar, brown sugar, soy milk, margarine, egg, pumpkin purée, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and 2 cups (250g) of the flour to the bowl and mix on low speed with either a dough hook in a stand mixer or a wooden spoon. Add another cup (125g) of flour and mix well. Add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, and mix it in until the dough becomes smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time before adding more flour.

Cover the dough with a clean dishtowel and let it rise for one hour in a warm place. I use a warming drawer on a low setting, or you can turn your oven on to its lowest setting, wait until it reaches that temperature, place the bowl in the oven, and then turn off the oven.

Punch down the dough by folding it over a few times and reshaping it into a ball. Then re-cover the dough and let it rise for 10 minutes.

Dust a cookie sheet with some flour. Sprinkle some flour on your counter or on a piece of parchment paper and roll the dough out until it’s about 1/2 inch (1.25cm) thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch (6cm) round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut out circles and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Reroll any scraps. Cover the doughnuts with the towel. Place the cookie sheet back in the oven (warm but turned off) or warming drawer. Let the doughnuts rise for 45 minutes.

Heat 1 1/2 inches (4cm) of oil in a medium saucepan for a few minutes and use a candy thermometer to see when the temperature stays between 365°F and 375°F (185°C and 190°C); adjust the flame so the oil stays in that temperature range.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Place a wire rack on top of it and set it near your stovetop. Gently slide no more than four doughnuts, top side down, into the oil and fry for 1½ minutes. Turn the doughnuts over and cook another 1½ minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, letting excess oil drip off, and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat for the remaining doughnuts. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar and serve. Store covered at room temperature for up to one day and reheat to serve.

Reprinted with permission from Holiday Kosher Baker © 2013 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress

pumpkin cannoli

Pumpkin Cannoli

Makes 12 regular or 30 mini-sized cannoli.

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.


1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups whole-milk ricotta cheese
7 1/2 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
3/4 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.

Reprinted with permission from American Food Roots.


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