What do you get when Thanksgiving and Chanucah fall on the same day? Thanksgivukkah — of course.
On November 28, for the first time since 1899, the two holidays fall on the same day. It will not happen again in our lifetime. The term Thanksgivukkah, coined by Boston marketing executive, Dana Gitell, has rapidly caught on across the US.
And this is not the only portmanteau spawned by this convergence of holidays. Another creation is the Menurkey -the bizarre hybrid of a Chanucah menorah and the Thanksgiving turkey. This was invented by nine-year old New Yorker, Asher Weintraub, and brought to life and marketed by his parents.
Not surprisingly, food has played a big part in the enthusiastic efforts of our Stateside brethren to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime festival.
Manhattan restaurant Kutsher’s Tribeca has created a celebratory Thanksgivukkah menu which includes potato latkes topped with such temptations as melted marshmallows, and East Village bakery Zuckers has launched a range of doughnuts, nicknamed “stuff-ganiyot” especially for the occasion.
The doughnuts are all made from a spiced pumpkin dough, and come with a choice of three flavours: turkey and gravy, turkey and cranberry, and cranberry sauce filling.
They are also offering a sweet potato doughnut with toasted marshmallow filling.
Both festivals have delicious traditions to contribute to the mash-up. Chanucah brings latkes, doughnuts and kugels to blend with Thanksgiving’s North American turkey, cranberries and maple syrup plus a wealth of colourful autumnal produce such as sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
The recipe combinations are endless, think sweet potato challah, pecan pie rugelach, cranberry sauce filled doughnuts and pumpkin kugel.
Denise Phillips has come up with a few ideas to help you celebrate the festivals in style.
Pecan pumpkin pie
If you are pressed for time, this can be made in separate stages to fit in with your busy day. You also could use 300g of ready-made shortcrust pastry and a 425g tin of 100 per cent natural pureed pumpkin.
Preparation: 45 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour/1 hour 15 minutes
For the pastry
300g plain flour
175g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 egg yolk for glazing
For the filling
450g pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped, or a 425g tin of natural pureed pumpkin
60g maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp corn flour
Pinch of salt
½ tsp ground mixed spice
250g chopped pecans
150g whole perfect pecans
If making your own pastry: place all the ingredients into a food processor and combine together to make a dough.
Remove, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.
Lightly dust the work surface with flour. Roll out the pastry so that it fits a 23.5cm deep loose-bottom pie dish.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
Blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and glaze the pastry with the egg yolk and return to the oven for 5 minutes.
For the filling
Place the prepared pumpkin in a saucepan with 4 tablespoons of water and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until soft.
Drain, puree and set aside.
Whisk the eggs, molasses and maple syrup in the food processor until thick.
Add the cornflour, mixed spice, salt and pumpkin puree, or tinned pumpkin puree, and whisk again.
Stir in the chopped pecan nuts.
Pour into the prepared pie case.
Carefully position the whole pecans in rows on top of the filling.
Place in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until puffed up and set.
Serve the pie warmed with a drizzle of maple syrup and vanilla ice cream.