Dairy Recipes for Chanukah
By Eileen Goltz
One of the lesser know but no less important Chanukah traditions is to serve dairy products (think Shavuot with its long Cheese cake tradition) along with the over abundance of fried foods we like to gobble down. Legend has it that a woman named Judith saved her village from the occupying Syrians. Judith fed wine and cheese to the Syrian general who was terrifying the local population, he over indulged became so drunk that he fell asleep. Judith killed him (took off his head and put it in her basket) and the walked right out of the camp under the guards noses. When the general’s troops found his body the next day (minus the head, of course) they abandoned their position and went home leaving the Jews to live in their village in peace.
There is no one specific dairy food that I serve on Chanukah EXCEPT for the sour cream on my latkes. That being said, there is no real rhyme or reason to the following collection of recipes, other than they’re great and contain lots and lots of butter, and cheese, milk and cream.
CHOCOLATE AND STRAWBERRY CREPES (dairy)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoon oil
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch salt
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips
2 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 to 2 cups sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping
3 to 4 tablespoon chopped pistachios or pecans
In a large bowl combine the egg, milk, water and oil, whisk to combine. Add the flour, sugar and salt and continue whisking until the mixture is smooth.
Heat a medium, nonstick skillet or omelet pan over medium heat. Brush the bottom of the pan with a little of the melted butter. Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup batter into center of pan, tilting to coat the bottom. Cook until golden brown on one side, turning once. The cooking should take between 3 to 5 minutes depending on how hot your pan is. Place the crepes on a plate and continue until the batter is used up. In a small saucepan over low heat (or in the microwave), melt chocolate chips, stirring constantly. Remove them from the heat.
With a spoon spread some melted chocolate on the lighter side of one crepe. Place a line of sliced strawberries about 1/3 of the way from the bottom of the crepe and then roll it up. You can over fill it if you like; it looks really great with the strawberries falling out of the ends. Place the filled crepe on the serving plate and top with whipped cream or whipped topping. If there is extra melted chocolate left drizzle it over the top (you can always melt more if you want) and sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top. Makes 6 to 8 crepes
CREME CARAMEL (dairy)
You will need 8 4 oz. custard cups for this recipe
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 cups warm milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. In a sauce pan combine 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Cook over a low heat for 10 minutes or until sugar caramelizes turning a golden brown. Don’t stir, just tip the pan and swirl it a couple of times while it’s cooking. BE CAREFUL. This mixture is extremely hot, very sticky and can burn you very quickly. When the color is a deep golden divide the mixture between the 8, tipping pan to incorporate mixture. Divide evenly between the 8 custard cups.
In a bowl combine the eggs, egg yolks, remaining 1/2 cup sugar and whisk until blended. Gradually whisk in the warm milk and vanilla. Divide the milk mixture between the 8 custard cups. Cover each of the cups with aluminum foil and place them on a cookie sheet that has sides. Place the cookie sheet in the oven and then pour warm water on the bottom of the cookie sheet until the water goes about 1/4 of an inch up the outside of the custard cup. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove custard cups from the oven and place them on a cooling rack. Remove the foil and let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before you place them in the refrigerator. Let cool for at least 3 to 4 hours. To serve run a knife around the edges of the custard cup and invert each custard on to a dessert plate. Makes 8
RICOTTA STUFFED SHELLS (dairy)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well-drained
1 cup ricotta cheese
8 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion
12 jumbo macaroni shells, cooked, drained
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (jarred stuff works just great)
Preheat oven to 350. In a bowl combine the drained spinach, red pepper, oregano, basil, onion, garlic, ricotta cheese and about 3/4's of the feta cheese. Mix to combine. Fill shells with the spinach mixture; place in 9X13 baking dish. Pour the sauce over shells and top with remaining feta cheese. Bake stuffed shells for 20 minutes.
PEPPER JACK STUFFED POTATOES (dairy)
4 large baking potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced onion
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 400. Bake potatoes for 45 minutes or until tender. When they are cool enough to handle, cut them lengthwise and scoop out the center of the potato and leave a 1/4 inch shell. Set the shell aside to cool. In small pan melt the butter. Add the garlic and onion and cook for about 2 minutes. In a bowl mash the cooled scooped out potatoes. Stir in the onion/garlic/butter mixture, pepper jack cheese, sour cream, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix well. Divide the mixture between the potatoes shells and pack it down slightly. Place the filled shells on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle the top with the chopped tomatoes and green onion. Add more cheese if you want to. Return to oven for 5 more minutes and then serve. Makes 4.
CHOCOLATE RICE PUDDING (dairy)
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
Combine milk, rice, sugar and chocolate chips in 2 to 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until pudding is thick and creamy, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Spoon into serving dishes. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve warm or cold. Makes 6 servings.
Recipe from the USA Rice Federation.
COOKS ILLUSTRATED CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup oil
4 large eggs
2 cups grated carrots (4-5 medium carrots), peeled
8 ounces crushed pineapple, lightly drained
3 1/2 ounces shredded coconut
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
8 tablespoons butter, softened but still cool
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking pan with oil. Line bottom of pan with parchment and oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar and brown sugars until combined. Reduce speed to low and add oil in slow stream. Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is thoroughly combined, about a minute.
On low speed, add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture until they are just combined. By hand stir in the carrots, pineapple and coconut. Pour the batter into cake pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes until toothpick stuck in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool for at least 1 hour before you take the cake out of the pan and remove the parchment paper. Place the can on the platter you want to serve it on. You can leave it in the pan and serve it from the pan if you prefer.
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Beat until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl if needed. Add the powdered sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute.
Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Using a knife or icing spatula, spread frosting evenly over surface of cake. Cut into squares and serve.
Makes one 13 by 9-inch cake
ZESTY LEMON CUSTARD PIE (dairy)
1 pre-made frozen pie crust
1 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)
Preheat oven to 350. In a glass bowl melt the butter in microwave and then set it aside. In another bowl whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the lemon zest and then slowly stir in the butter and lemon juice until the mixture is combined. Pour the mixture into the crust. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until top of custard is lightly browned. Be warned, the pie will not looked cooked and a tooth pick will not come out clean. It will set up as it cools. When the pie is cool, refrigerate until cool then refrigerate for several hours. Just before serving sprinkle powdered sugar on top of the pie. Makes 1 pie.
COTTAGE CHEESE AND BLUEBERRY PANCAKES (dairy)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup milk
4 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
In a bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well. In another bowl combine the cottage cheese, milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. Mix to combine. Pour the dry ingredients into the cottage cheese mixture. Mix to combine. GENTLY fold the blueberries into the batter making sure that they don’t get crushed. Heat a griddle and use a little butter or margarine to coat it. Using a measuring cup pour approx. 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan and cook until the surface starts to bubble and the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook the other side until the bottom is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 pancakes
2 pounds spinach (steamed, squeezed, drained and chopped)
1 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 onion, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
Preheat 350. In a large bowl combine the spinach, feta, dill, parsley, green onions, eggs, salt and pepper and set it aside. Brush the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking pan with olive oil. Brush the top of a sheet of phyllo dough with olive oil and place it in the pan. (You may have to cut the phyllo dough to fit the pan.) Repeat until you have 6 layers. Place the spinach mixture on top of the phyllo dough. Brush the top of a sheet of phyllo dough with olive oil and place it on the spinach. Repeat the process until you have 6 layers. Bake in until golden brown on top, about 30-50 minutes