I can say with certainty that I am an honorary MOT. So much so that I threw a five-course dinner for Hanukkah on Saturday (the first night of the eight-day celebration). Beyond the obvious excuse to gather my favorite Jews, the chance to put my spin on Hanukkah fare provided an entertaining challenge.
Touted as the “all oil holiday” Hanukkah menus typically include the following: potato latkes, noodle kugel, brisket, and jelly donuts. For the first course, I cautiously chose things that I know I do well – popovers with salted honey butter and mushroom bisque topped with truffle foam.
Lacking actual membership in the tribe, little excites me more than a hush-hush family latke recipe. To add a little T&T flare, I cooked the traditional latkes in duck fat and topped them with truffle salt. I then swapped the kugel for mac and cheese, and transformed basic brisket into beer-braised brisket sliders with chipotle aioli and caramelized onion jam.
Deciding on dessert was trickier. Given the density of the aforementioned menu, picking something less filling was a major consideration. Challah bread pudding was too obvious, and jelly-filled donuts (delicious as they may be) were too casual. While wracking my brain for something both light and Hanukkah-eqsue, the perfect dessert popped into clear view: flourless chocolate gelt cake.
Omnipresent during Hanukkah, “gelt” are gilded coins filled with chocolate (which I was already planning to litter my table with as décor). Combining gelt with flourless cake would be the ideal ending to my heavy menu. By removing flour, the confection becomes somehow rich and yet weightless, almost like chocolate-laced air. And flourless chocolate cake is a recipe so flawless, it’s not been changed since its inception. It was perfect!
The dinner was monumental. Before we devoured our festive food, my friends Josh and Rami recited three blessings on the Menorah. We then spent a shocking amount of time learning about the significance of the Festival of Lights, before foraying into my crowd-pleasing tradition of Two Truths and a Lie. By the time dessert arrived everyone was stuffed. But luckily not stuffed enough to refuse chocolate. Shalom! xx tt