A little about Hannuka, from Dianes Desserts:
What is Hanukkah?Hanukkah is an eight-night celebration. The Hanukkah celebration includes lighting the candles of the Hanukiyah (in English-speaking countries this is often called a Menorah, which is the Hebrew word for a candelabra) on each day of the holiday, playing with the dreidel, eating latkes and exchanging Hanukkah gelt.
The holiday of Hanukkah is spelled several different ways in English, including "Hanukah," "Hanukkah," "Chanukkah," and "Chanukah."
Like another famous winter-time holiday, Christmas, Hanukkah is about history. The celebration of Hanukkah is a commemoration of an event that happened more than 2,000 years ago.
In 167 B.C., the Syrian king Antiochus IV began to outlaw Jewish religious practices and forced Jews to adopt Greek rituals. His men took control of the Jews' Holy Temple in Jerusalem, looted it and erected an idol of a Greek god there. One Jewish family, the Hasmoneans (led by Mattityahu and his five sons), decided to take a stand against the persecution. The Greek forces arrived in the town of Modiin, near Jerusalem. It was here that after refusing to violate his own religion by praying to the Greek god Zeus, Mattityahu attacked the Greek soldiers.
This action began the Jewish rebellion. Mattityahu and his sons became known as the Maccabees, which means "men who are as strong as hammers" in Hebrew. The small army, led by Mattityahu's most famous son, Judah Maccabee, fought sizeable Greek forces. In 165 B.C., the Maccabees were triumphant. On the 25th of the Hebrew month Kislev, the Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple.
They decided to rededicate the temple -- the word "Hanukkah" means dedication. The Jewish army was unable to find enough oil to light the Menorah, or candle holder, to be used in the service. The Maccabees found only one bottle of oil, enough for only a single night. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight nights, giving the Jews time to produce more oil.
The holiday of Hanukkah commemorates this miracle. By lighting candles for eight nights, beginning every year on the 25th of Kislev (usually in December on the Western calendar, but not always), Jews celebrate the triumph of the Maccabees, the rededication of the Holy Temple and the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days. This year (2009), Hanukkah begins at Sundown on December 11.
As a child I loved the 8 days of Hannuka. My grandparents would spoil us to death with various gifts and hannuka gelt, The word gelt means "money" in Yiddish. On Hanukkah, there is a tradition of giving real or chocolate coins as presents to children. Most likely because Hanukkah falls near Christmas, giving gelt has evolved into giving and receiving other presents on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah.
So here are my Hannuka goodies - Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season, whatever your religion is....
- Active dry yeast -- 1 (1/4-ounce) package
- 1/4 cupLukewarm water
- 3-3 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/3 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons Butter, room temperature
- 1 TBS Brandy
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- Dulche de Leche
- Oil for deep frying
Mix the yeast and warm water together in a small bowl and set aside for 5-10 minutes to activate the yeast.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, milk, brandy, beaten egg, butter and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon to mixthe ingredients and bring the dough together. Add a little more flour if the dough is too wet.
- Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth but still a little sticky. Lightly butter or oil a large bowl. Add the dough to the bowl and cover it with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Set in a warm corner until the dough is doubled in size.
- Return the dough to a lightly floured surface and punch it down to deflate. Knead lightly for another 2-3 minutes. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Use a biscuit cutter or large glass to cut out 24 rounds with a diameter of 3 to 4 inches.
- Place 12 of the rounds onto a baking sheet. Put 2 tablespoons of dulche de leche in the middle of each round, taking care to keep a border of about 1/2 inch clean. Place the remaining rounds on top of each filled round and press the edges together to seal. Lightly cover with plastic wrap and set aside again until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Add at least 3 inches of oil to a large, deep pot or deep fryer. Set the oil over medium-high heat . Reduce heat to maintain temperature. Working in batches, add a few of the stuffed dough balls to the hot oil and fry until golden brown on one side. Flip over with a spatula or fork and brown on the second side.
- Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain briefly, then toss in the sugar to coat. Set aside and repeat with the remaining dough. Serve warm.
- Ganache: 200 ml cream + 200 grams chocolate. Melt over low heat.
- Cover each sufganiya with the ganache and sprinkle with candy, nuts etc.