As part of our IYKYK: Holiday Tradition Edition series, we’re celebrating Hanukkah with home baker Emily Alben. Emily hosted us in the backyard of her Ojai, CA home over zesty sufganiyot and made-by-hand latkes. We spoke about the traditions and the flavors that punctuate the holiday...
How do you celebrate the holidays?
I grew up celebrating Hanukkah but over the years it has evolved more into Chrismukkah where elements of both traditions are present for the friends and family we celebrate with. We may not be able to celebrate all 8 nights together, but there is at least one where we gather and all light the candles on the menorah together, basking in the glow of the ancient ritual.
What kinds of foods make you think of the holidays?
Anything with warming spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom) that are featured in gingerbread, cookies, or mulled wine. Winter citrus to brighten up dishes from salads to cakes, or anything in the squash family (honeynut, acorn, kuri, delicata, pumpkin) which can be the perfect mix of sweet and savory in soups, pies, or simply roasted.
What is a holiday tradition that’s unique to you?
My dad throws a yearly Hanukkah party called “latke-palooza” where guests bring their own version of latkes which are then judged and voted on before a winner is declared.
What spices, herbs or recipes remind you of home?
My dad would use rosemary in almost every recipe growing up. My brother and I would be tasked with going out to the garden to cut some and we’d always rub it between the palms of our hands to inhale the alpine aroma.
Emily’s Zesty Sufganiyot with Raspberry Rosewater Jam
YOU NEED(Sufganiyot Dough)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 tbsp. neutral oil
1 cup milk (whole or plant based)
1 large egg
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. Salt
1. In your Always Pan, heat the milk between 100-110°F, or until it’s warm to the touch before it reaches a simmer.
2. Remove from heat and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the mixture and let sit for about 10 minutes.
3. Whisk together the butter, oil, and egg and set aside.
4. To another large bowl add the sugar and orange zest and rub together with your fingers till fragrant. Then to the same bowl add the flour, salt, and whisk together.
5. With the mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, turn the mixer on low and add in the egg mixture until combined.
6. Then gradually add the flour mixture until fully combined and a shaggy dough forms.
7. Turn the mixer up to high and let it knead for about 5-6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic starts to come away from the side of the bowl.
8. Drizzle a large bowl with a little oil and smear it around the sides to coat the bowl.
9. Turn the dough out on your work surface and knead it a few times with your hands to form a uniform ball.
10. Add it to the oiled bowl, tossing to coat all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
YOU NEED(Raspberry Rosewater Jam + Sugar Coating)
1 jar or 13 oz. raspberry jam
2 tsp. rosewater
1 vanilla bean (optional)
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated sugar
(Raspberry Rosewater Jam + Sugar Coating)
1. In a Side Bowl, stir together the jam and rosewater.
2. In another Side Bowl, rub the sugars and vanilla bean seeds together with your fingers until speckled throughout
(Frying + Assembly)
4-5 cups neutral oil, like canola or vegetable
(Frying + Assembly)
1. Punch the dough down and on a lightly floured work surface, roll out to about a 1/2 inch thick.
2. Cut out doughnuts using a 3 inch round cutter (or a Drinking Glass) and re-roll the scraps once to get about 12 doughnuts.
3. Lay doughnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel to rise for about 45 minutes to an hour, until almost doubled in size.
4. In your Perfect Pot, add in enough frying oil to fill up the pot at least 3 inches. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and heat to 350°F over medium heat.
5. Add in three doughnuts at a time, frying about 1 minute on each side.
6. Remove from oil using a slotted spoon or spider and place on a paper towel-lined plate for a moment before coating both sides in vanilla sugar. Repeat until all doughnuts are fried up and coated in sugar.
7. Add the raspberry rose filling to a condiment squeeze bottle. Using your Precise Paring Knife or cooking chopstick, poke a little hole at one end of all the doughnuts and holes, giving the knife a little twist to make a wider opening for the piping tip to fit into.
8. Insert the piping tip into the hole and fill each doughnut, gently squeezing the bottle until you see filling poking out of the hole.