It’s the ultimate holiday mash-up, the only of our lifetime, given the vagaries of the Jewish calendar combined with the seven-year cycle of Thanksgiving.
It seems that the excitement of this singular event has led to some bad culinary choices. Just last week, Kathy and Hoda were subjected to (gag) Sweet Potato Donuts stuffed with Roast Turkey and Cranberry Sauce. I’m sorry, but that is an abomination before God. Some things just aren’t supposed to be.
So how can you make the right things happen at your table? I’m sticking with the classics. When I think Hanukkah, I think potato latkes and rugelach. For Thanksgiving, it’s all about the cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Clearly, I’m a side dish and dessert kind of girl! So I’m recommending trying my Rugelach with Pumpkin Butter, Pecans and Dried Cranberries, and Sweet Potato Latkes with Apple-Cranberry Sauce. The recipes follow. Happy Thanksgivukkah!
A word to the wise: you can make a yummy Black Friday sandwich by swapping out bread for latkes and stuffing roast turkey, brie and cranberry mustard between them. Even better served warm!
Pumpkin, Pecan and Cranberry Rugelach
Makes 4 dozen
(Adapted from Ina Garten’s basic Rugelach recipe)
- 8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
1. Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, until light. Add granulated sugar, salt and vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour and mix until just combined.
2. Dump dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- 1/2 cup pumpkin butter (American Spoon Foods makes a yummy one)
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash
- 3 tablespoons sugar combined with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. On a well-floured board, roll out one of the dough quarters into a 9-inch circle.
2. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons of pumpkin butter and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of reserved filling, pressing filling lightly into the dough.
3. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges by cutting circle into quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide outside edge, roll up each wedge.
4. Place cookies, points tucked under, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Chill for 30 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each cookie with egg wash, then sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
Sweet Potato Latkes
- 3 green onions, trimmed, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup matzo meal (can substitute all-purpose flour)
- 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated, drained
- 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated, drained
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Sour cream, for serving
- Cranberry-apple sauce, for serving
1. Combine green onions and eggs in a large bowl. Add matzo meal and spices and mix well. Add sweet and Yukon gold potatoes and toss to coat.
2. Fill a large skillet 1/2-inch deep with vegetable oil (I use canola) and heat over medium flame until oil is almost smoking. You can test with a little of the batter; it should sizzle on contact.
3. Carefully spoon about 1/8 cup of batter into oil for each latke, being careful not to crowd the pan. You will need to do several batches. Lightly press on each latke to flatten. Cook, turning once, until golden on each side, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan with a slotted spatula and transfer to a paper towel-lined wire rack to drain. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm with sour cream and Cranberry-Apple Sauce.
Makes about 2 quarts
- 3 to 4 pounds of peeled, cored, roughly chopped apples (Honeycrisp and Fuji are good choices)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (you can add more if you’d like…it will just be redder!)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground ginger
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Place all ingredients in a big pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Apples should be very soft.
2. Remove pan from heat. Mash the mixture with a potato mixture to the desired consistency. Can be served warm or cold.