Ask A Washington DC Chef: Top Traditional Chanukah Recipes

December 1, 2015 3:59 PM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Chanukah is a very important holiday and time of year in the Jewish community. To commemorate the occasion, there are rituals, festivals, parties, gifts and special food to be consumed. If you are celebrating Chanukah, or would like to help someone else celebrate, one of the best ways is to make a delicious Chanukah dish. Here are three recipes from two local chefs in the DC area.
Chef John Quinn
Ritz-Carlton Washington DC
1150 22nd Street, N.W.
Washington, District of Columbia 20037
(202) 835-0500
www.ritzcarlton.comChef John Quinn is the executive pastry chef for The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, DC and The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, Washington, DC. In this position, Chef Quinn oversees all aspects of the pastry department for both AAA Five Diamond hotels, including menu development, kitchen operations and mentorship of the hotel’s pastry team. He has held pastry chef positions at various renowned luxury hotels and resorts, including: The Ritz-Carlton Boston, Four Seasons Boston, the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Mandarin Oriental New York, The Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa and the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa. Chef Quinn’s extensive pastry knowledge, immense talent and depth of creativity make him a spectacular addition to their culinary team.

Hanukkah Sufganiyot (Nutella Doughnuts)Ingredients:

  •          2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  •          1/2 cup warm water
  •          1/4 cup sugar
  •          2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •          2 large eggs
  •          2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  •          1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  •          2 teaspoons salt
  •          3 cups vegetable oil for frying
  •           1 cups  nutella for filling

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
2. Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; add eggs, yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, nutmeg, and salt. Stir until a sticky dough forms.
3. On a well-floured work surface, knead until dough is smooth, soft, and bounces back when poked with a finger, about 8   minutes. Place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled.
4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 ½” -round cutter  cut 20 rounds. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise 15 minutes.
5. In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 370 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, carefully slip 4 rounds into oil. Fry until golden, about 40 seconds. Turn doughnuts over; fry until golden on other side, another 40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Roll in sugar while warm. Fry all dough, and roll in sugar.
6. Fill with Nutella or favorite filling of choice.

Related: Best Delicatessens In Washington DC

Chef Todd Gray
Equinox Restaurant
818 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 331-8118
www.equinoxrestaurant.comChef Todd Gray is one DC’s best-known chefs. His restaurant, Equinox, is one of the longest running restaurants in the area, and he and his wife, Ellen Kassoff, are co-authors of the book “The Jewish Table.” His expertise in Jewish food and Jewish cooking means that he is able to provide the perfect recipes for your Chanukah celebration.

Warm Lemon Ricotta FrittersIngredients:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ c all purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Additional sugar, for dredging, in a bowl big enough to hold all the fritters

Directions:

  1. 1. Preheat a deep fryer filled to the maximum fill line with neutral oil such as peanut or grapeseed oil to 350°, or if you don’t have a deep fryer, heat a large saucepan of the same oil on the stove, using a thermometer, over medium low heat to 350°. Make sure the oil only comes halfway up the side of the pan, to avoid having oil bubble up over the sides when the fritters are dropped in.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs.  Add the ricotta, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest, and beat to combine thoroughly, using a whisk.
  3. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add this dry mixture to the egg-ricotta mixture and fold together using a rubber spatula.  This is your fritter batter.
  4. Carefeully drop rounded tablespoons into the hot oil, one at a time. They will float up quickly after being dropped into the oil, and if they don’t, gently dislodge them from the bottom using a metal spoon or spatula. Pay close attention to them as they cook, being sure to flip them as they brown on one side.  The fritters are done when they are an even golden brown on all sides.
  5. Remove the fritters from the oil as they are finished, and drain them briefly on paper towels.
  6. Toss the fritters in the additional sugar and serve warm.
Yukon Gold And Sweet Potato LatkesYield: 5 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs, beaten slightly
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • For Serving (optional): Crème fraîche, freshly grated horseradish and salmon caviar -OR- Sour cream and applesauce or cherries

Directions:

  1. Mix the latkes: Grate the Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes on the large-mesh side of a box grater or in a food processor. With your hands, squeeze out any liquid and transfer the potatoes to a medium-sized bowl. With the same grater, grate the onion into the bowl with the potatoes. Add the eggs, matzo meal, thyme, salt, and pepper. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix together until ingredients are well blended.
  2. Cook the latkes: Preheat the oven to 250F. Heat a 12-inch nonstick saute pan over high heat; add ¼ cup of the oil and heat until it begins to smoke. Working in batches to cook three cakes at a time, shape the potato mixture into 5-inch round cakes about ½-inch thick, adding each to the pan as you do so. Lower the heat to medium and cook the cakes without moving them until brown on one side—about 4 minutes; turn them over and cook until the other side is brown—about 4 minutes more. Remove the cakes from the pan and transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Meanwhile, heat the remaining ¼ cup oil in the pan and shape and cook the remaining potato mixture. When the first batch of latkes has drained, transfer them to a serving plate and keep warm in the oven.
  3. Serve with the topping of your choice.

Related: Ask A Washington DC Chef: Best Latke Recipes For Hanukkah 

Priya Konings is a freelance writer and restaurant critic in Washington D.C. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.