It’s often joked that Jewish holidays are comprised of three basic components: “We fought, we won, let’s eat.” I won’t get into the inaccuracy of that, however it is true we have traditional foods for every event. And of course, depending on the region of the world you and your ancestors come from, those traditional foods vary.
Chanukah has several traditional foods. The best known of these is the Potato latke. But what many people don’t realize is that the original latke commemorating Chanukah was a cheese latke.
A not often told part of the Chanukah story is the story of Judith, a heroine who saved her village from an invading Assyrian army. It is said that she seduced the General Holofernes and fed him salty cheese to make him drink copious quantities of wine. When he passed out in a drunken stupor, Judith beheaded him with his own sword. Demoralized, the army fought badly and fled. The Jews of the town were saved. In Judith’s honor, dairy foods, and in particular cheese dishes, are eaten during Chanukah.
Here is my favorite holiday cheese dish (or any time for brunch)!
Cheese Blintz Soufflé
Most of the recipes you will see for this begin with frozen cheese blintzes. I prefer this one, and have been known to make trays of it for gatherings and once, for a college frat house.
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cups orange juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cubed
1 pint whole fat cottage cheese
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare the batter: In a food processor, combine all of the batter ingredients. Pulse until combined. Pour half of the batter into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Set the rest aside for the moment.
Prepare the filling: In a food processor or mixer, combine the filling ingredients until they are smooth and well mixed.
Using a large spoon (I use a serving spoon) drop the filling by heaping spoonfuls over batter in baking dish. It will slightly sink into the batter, that’s fine. With a knife, spread filling evenly. Pour remaining batter over filling.
You can refrigerate the blintz soufflé at this point, if you plan to bake the next day. Make sure it’s at room temperature before baking.
Bake uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes or until puffed and golden. Serve as is, or with sour cream.
SERVES: 6 – 8
- Latkes (aitzchaim.com)
- Do Black Jews Celebrate Chanukah Differently? (clutchmagonline.com)
- Hanukkah: A Festival of Lights and Food! (cleanyourplate.net)
- 20 December 2011. Hanukkah Starts Tonight! To the Feast, For My Jewish Friends! (02varvara.wordpress.com)
- Gwyneth Paltrow Likes to Celebrate Hanukkah with Ice Cream! (people.com)
- Latkes with Fried Eggs and Roasted Tomatoes (saltandserenity.com)
- Eight Nights of Hanukkah Eight Fried Treats (ronit18.wordpress.com)