Preserves in Action: Hanukkah Edition

December 14, 2012(updated on October 3, 2018)


Hanukkah took me by surprise this year. It started last Saturday night, which felt impossibly early to me (I still wake up most days thinking it’s November, so I’m woefully out of sync). The days since have passed in a blurry haze of deadlines, gift wrapping, and holiday parties. Though I’ve struggled to wrap my hands around this holiday of miracles and illumination, I’ve somehow still managed to light my menorah (two nights out of six so far) make a couple of appropriately celebratory foods. They both just happen to involve preserves.

The first thing I made was a batch of rugelach. These cookies are eaten all year long, but are particularly traditional around Hanukkah. The dough is made with butter, cream cheese, flour and just a bit of sugar. After some time in the fridge to chill, you roll out the dough, spread it with fruit jam, and spread chopped walnuts and raisins over top. The round of dough is sliced into wedges, rolled, chilled (ideally, at least. I rarely have room in my fridge to chill a sheet pan) and baked. They are divine and when I make them, I feel connected to all the women in my family who rolled these same cookies long before I was born.

latkes and applesauce


On Wednesday night, I made latkes. I don’t really ever follow a recipe for latkes (though I do employ this trick of soaking the shredded potatoes in a bowl of ice water to help extract the starch and prevent discoloration). Much like I assume my great-great-auntie Tunkel once did, I grate potatoes until it looks like I have enough. Add shredded onion, an egg or two to bind, flour to thicken, and salt and pepper for flavor. And then fry until crisp in a bit of oil. Topped with a layer of sour cream and applesauce (there’s the preserve!), they are such a treat.

How are you using your preserves this week?

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 thoughts on "Preserves in Action: Hanukkah Edition"

  • I am actually making a coffee cake using my plum jam for breakfast tomorrow. And my kids used a healthy spoonful of it in their morning oatmeal – I canned up an absurd amount of it and hate to see it go to waste (and we aren’t big toast eaters). I also opened up a quart of cinnamon applesauce last night to go with our dinner of regular pancakes.

    1. I have had a wonderful few days of using my pantry collection. We, too, made latkes and I used my organic, chunky home-made unsweetened applesauce alongside. At our Chanukah party, I served the Brie with my carmelized onion jam on top, and included Dilly Beans with my cheese tray. I felt like a real old-fashioned woman. My holiday gift to my boss will be an assortment of small jellies that I’ve made over the past few months including Limoncello and Sweet wine jelly. Thanks, Marisa – you have been an inspiration.

  • On toast, mostly, but also in Oatmeal Jam Bar cookies. And I’m also using them for my company’s yankee swap gift on Tuesday – does that count? My $10 or less gift is a trio of preserves: tomato jam, apple butter, and peach barbecue sauce, I think, though it depends what I find when I go poking in the jar cupboard!

  • I do like our homemade applesauce on latkes, but this year my husband declared them even better with tomato jam. 🙂

  • Those are two of my favorite foods ever…my rugelach recipe uses sour cream instead of cream cheese….I think we’ll try cream cheese this weekend. I like apricot and raspberry preserves in mine. 🙂

  • I made latkes with homemade apple sauce, too! But I cheated and used pre-cut hashbrowns in a bag. What can I say – I work full time, evenings come early when you don’t get home until 5:45 with a bunch of kids in tow! But they are always good!

    I also gave away a jar of blackberry jam to a friend, and I’m making plum cake with some of the italian plums I froze in September and I’m canning some more. I discovered that plum preserve with cardamom, cinnamon, allspice, and clove tastes like HEAVEN. I need more. You can also puree it and make ice cream with it – spiced plum ice cream is also incredible.

  • My feet are resting upon a coffee table strewn with Hannukah books as I type. Served up delicious latkahs with my Sebastopol applesauce on Saturday night ( first night), (served with Chicken Marbella) and added hot and spicy sauce from end of summer jar to the chicken soup I made Tuesday night. What do think of plum preserves on a sweet and sour brisket?
    Happy Hannukah!

  • I served latkes with a choice of sour cream, applesauce, or pear/cranberry/bourbon jam yesterday. The jam was perfect for latkes! Thanks for the recipe.

  • I remember my father making latkes when I was young. He kept a piece of muslin to wring all of the starch out of the potatoes and then would rinse them and wring them again. Such a labor of love. He also would sometimes add a little bit of rendered salt pork to make them extra yummy. He would only fry them in real butter, not oil, and we always ate them with sour cream. I never heard of serving them with apple sauce until I married my husband whose family never used sour cream.
    My father would always leave a batch of them in a plate on the stove for us kids to grab on the run or when we had a break from playing. We considered this a great treat.

  • Your green tomato chutney is such a treat around here….we love it with baked pork chops. Such a taste of summer, bright and tart!

  • I don’t have a lot of experience with rugelach, so was startled when you mentioned filling them with “fruit jam.” Just fruit jam. Then Ina’s recipe linked in your article said apricot jam. And then the Tasting Table email that I just read said poppy seed. ( All this time I thought it had to be fig jam! I now envision a wonderful plate of rugelach filled with the last luscious slather of homemade jams that have been taking up frig space. I am off to buy cream cheese!

    1. It’s definitely amazing once you realize it’s simply a cookie that can serve as a vehicle for so many different preserves!

  • A good friend is obsessed with the apple cranberry jam, but also loves pears. I had a bunch of fruit that was starting to look sort of sad, so this morning I mixed bosc pears, a couple kinds of apples, a clementine and 2 lemons into a jam. Wow. Just…wow.
    I basically combined your pear and apple cranberry jam recipes, and added the little bit of orange flavor. I was able to cut way back on the sugar and added a bit of honey.
    It was amazing.
    I eat the cranberry based ones with turkey sandwiches, baked chicken, ham and so on. It’s great on toast, but one should not stop there!
    Thanks again for all the great recipes!
    Happy Holidays 🙂

  • Last night we made marmalade whiskey sours at a birthday party using my Meyer lemon, rum and vanilla bean marmalade. Yum!

  • I made this for our friend’s holiday party and it was a big hit. So thanks! Though most of my friends were not Jewish so they kept asking me what it was 🙂 Also wanted to mention that next year first night Hanukkah is on Thanksgiving; so it’s going to be a rush to get everything!