Recipe: Chanukah doughnuts, a user’s guide

Rachel Korn explores one of the festival’s most popular food traditions

As most people will tell you, it’s a tradition to eat foods involving oil around Chanukah. The festival is based around the fact that after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Greeks in the Hellenistic period, there was a miracle where the oil to light the menorah (big spiritual candelabra) lasted eight days from one small jar. Everyone tends to go for doughnuts and latkes because they taste by far the best, so those two foods have become a well-established part of the tradition.

Ingredients:

  1. 6oz flour
  2. ½ tsp salt
  3. 1 tsp baking powder
  4. 2oz margarine
  5. 1oz sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 2 tbsp milk
  8. Red jam
  9. Oil

Method:

1 – Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder together.

2 – Rub in the margarine then add the sugar. Mix in the beaten egg and milk to make a light dough.

3 – Roll out the mixture and cut out little circles.

4 – Dollop jam on half, then put the other half on top to make spheres.

5 – Fry in really hot oil in a pan or a deep-fryer for about 7 minutes, then dip in caster sugar.

And don’t worry if your cooking skills aren’t quite up to scratch—there are always shop-bought alternatives! The bakeries in Hendon and Golders Green almost entirely turn over to doughnut production in December—you can’t move for places selling doughnuts at this time of year. Jam, chocolate, custard, fresh cream, and even weird fillings like apple or marshmallows in some bakeries. And, crucially, all deep fried (none of that Krispy Kreme nonsense). Main Chanukah recommendation to anyone new to this: classic jam doughnut covered in sugar from Grodzinski’s. Can’t be matched.