With ThanksgivingKah (aka the convergence of Hanukkah and Christmas) is almost upon us. What better way to celebrate than with an ice cream cake? I don’t know if Carvel still makes these—there’s one for Christmas, too—but I love this 1982 ad from the company.
With Christmas and New Year’s coming up, you’re going to want to have a recipe for making a sweet treat—my vote is always for chocolate truffles—that’s rich and decadent. This one, White Chocolate Truffles with Cashews, Coconut and Drunk Raisins, from Chef Renee Marton, fits the bill:
WHITE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES WITH CASHEWS, COCONUT AND DRUNK RAISINS
© Renee Marton
1 pound white chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz butter, cut in 8 pieces, and kept cool
½ cup golden raisins
½ cup single malt Scotch
½ cup cashews
½ shredded unsweetened coconut
2 large egg yolks
Whole nutmeg, for grating
1. Soak raisins in Scotch at least 2 hours before using. Strain raisins; chop coarsely and save the liquid.
2. Toast the coconut and cashews lightly in a pre-heated (350 ° F.) oven for about 10 minutes. Coarsely chop the cashews, after they have cooled.
3. Heat the cream until very warm.
4. Chop the chocolate coarsely and put in food processor. While the food processor is running, add the cream and the butter. Process until you almost have a smooth paste – there will be little “dots” of white chocolate – that is what you want.
5. Place the mixture in a mixing bowl. Mix yolks with 7 TB of Scotch, and strain into the white chocolate ganache. Stir until well blended.
6. Add raisins, cashews and ½ of coconut, pinch of salt and pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
7. When well combined, place mixture in a plastic bag. Cut off one corner—one inch from tip. Squeeze dollops of truffle mixture onto parchment lined cookie sheets, and refrigerate until firm. (You can also drop by spoonfuls.) The truffles should be the size of very large marbles.
8. When the balls are firm, roll them quickly between your chilled palms to shape them into balls, then roll them in the leftover coconut. powdered sugar, etc.
Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Letting them come to room temperature for will bring out the flavor.
Yield: 30 to 35 truffles
Upper West Side bakeries are ramping up for the holidays, adding various seasonal items to their menus. Here’s a look at the December goodies at a few of them:
Bakery Soutine will be offering various gingerbread constructions, honey bourbon fruitcake, Royal Navy plum pudding, croquembouche and Buche de Noel. www.soutine.com
Buttercup Bake Shop will be selling special gingerbread cupcakes with pumpkin icing as a seasonal holiday treat. www.buttercupbakeshop.com
Holiday cupcakes, including a Christmas confection with green cream cheese frosting and red sprinkles, a blue-and-white Hanukkah rendition, and a treat topped with eggnog frosting are on the holiday menu at www.crumbs.com
Magnolia Bakery will have red velvet cupcakes, topped with edible chocolate disks bearing pictures of dancing Rockettes. Other seasonal cupcakes include ones decorated with snowmen and snowflakes, and the Sno-Cap—devil’s food cake with meringue-icing peaks. www.magnoliabakery.com
Among many other holiday items, Silver Moon Bakery makes jelly doughnuts and Star of David layer cake for Hanukkah, a fig tart and traditional Stollen bread for Christmas. There’s also a triple chocolate bavarois to help ring in the new year. www.silvermoonbakery.com
During Hanukkah, the odor of frying latkes is perfume to some but a smelly curse to others. For tips on ridding your apartment of that oil-and-onion aroma, read Brick Underground’s Out Damn Latke.
Some people fry jelly donuts, not latkes at Hanukkah. Why all the frying? Fried foods are supposed to remind you of the miracle of the eight days of burning oil when the Maccabees purified the temple in Jerusalem.
At Barbounia, Executive Chef Efraim Nahon will be frying up Hanukkah donuts throughout the holiday, from Dec. 11-19.
Want to try this at home? Here’s the recipe:
Barbounia’s Hanukkah Donuts
• 8 cups all purpose flour
• 2 ¼ teaspoon yeast
• ¾ cup sugar
• 1 cup of milk
• 6 eggs
• 1 vanilla bean (only seeds out) or 1tablespoon vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons of brandy
• ½ tablespoon lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ½ cup + 3 tablespoon soft butter
• Vegetable oil for frying– approximately 5 cups
• Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling
• Optional: 1 1/2 cups strawberry or apricot jam (or other favorite jam flavors) for filling donut
Serves – 30 Large Donuts (approximately palm-size)
1. Mix together flour, yeast, milk, sugar and vanilla bean (cut vanilla bean in half and spoon out seeds) or use vanilla extract. Add in brandy and lemon zest – blend until it becomes soft dough.
2. Add salt and butter and continue blending for approximately 5 minutes or until consistency is smooth **If dough is too sticky add 2 tablespoons flour.
3. Remove dough from bowl and wrap in plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature for at least 3-4 hours (can be overnight) until the dough doubles in size.
4. Cut into 3 equal sections. Cut each of the 3 sections into 10 smaller pieces (you will end with 30 pieces). Roll each of the pieces into a ball on lightly floured surface.
5. In a large, heavy skillet or deep fryer pan, heat oil to 350 degrees or until it bubbles gently around a small test piece of dough. Carefully slide four donuts or enough to fill pan without crowding. Fry the dough for approx 2-3 minutes on each side.
6. Remove donuts from oil and drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature
7. OPTIONAL: When cool, you can infuse the donut with a strawberry or apricot jam by filling a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, and using the tip to poke a small hole in the side of the donuts. Fill the centers with 2 tablespoons of jam.
250 Park Ave S
New York, NY 10003
When it comes to purchasing already-prepared Hanukkah latkes–those irresistible potato pancakes that are to Hanukkah as fruit cake is to Christmas–the Upper West Side abounds with dining-in or take-out options.
“We do a beautiful job on latkes,” remarked Nick the cook at Barney Greengrass, the iconic dairy restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue on New York’s Upper West Side.
If you want latkes to eat in or take home, the famed eatery will be happy to supply them. They’re already prepared and ready to purchase on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. During the rest of the week, call ahead, “and we’ll make them for you,” Nick advised.
Here are some places on the Upper West Side to purchase latkes for your Hanukkah celebration.
212 579 5959
541 Amsterdam Ave.
212 724 4707
Fine and Schapiro
138 W 72nd St # A
212 877 2874
Lansky’s Old World Deli
235 Columbus Ave
212 787 0400
212 787 2000