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The Results of the Food52 and Serious Eats Thanksgivakkuh Recipe-Off!

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Next month, for the first time since 1888 and the last time until approximately 79811, the world* will celebrate Thanksgivukkah, the greatest holiday mashup ever. What's Thanksgivukkah, you ask? Only a (literally) once-in-a-lifetime convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, which are happening on the same day this year.

*okay, the whole world is an overstatement, but at least part of it!

You may be wondering how such an incredible event is even possible. In short, the starting date of Hanukkah, which changes every year, is dictated by a Hebrew calendar, while Thanksgiving is scheduled by the Gregorian calendar. This year, the two holidays happen to line up, thus producing almighty Thanksgivukkah.

But enough about the logistics. Let's get to the real reason Thanksgivukkah is so great—the food. The holiday presents some opportunities for serious cross-cultural feasting, and that's when things get really fun. This week, we squared off against our pals at Food52 for a little (friendly) competition to see who can create the best Thanksgivukkah dish, à la last year's great Cherpumple-off.

We both called on our respective reader base to help us brainstorm ideas, and indeed, we had tons of great ideas to pull from on our end. ajk925 (among others) implied that latkes were not optional. We agree. CityMinx suggested replacing the filling of a traditional sufganiyah (round doughnut) with cranberry sauce. This idea figured heavily into our final recipe.

As ESNY1077 says, "Thanksgivukkah just provides the perfect excuse to deep fry every single Thanksgiving item." Yep, we did that too.

adam42 had the genius idea to make a dough out of traditional thanksgiving flavors—stuffing, turkey, cranberry.

In the end, we couldn't incorporate all of the great ideas, but thanks to you, we came up with what we think is about as great a Thanksgiving-Hanukkah hybrid as you could ask for. Until we saw the awesomeness that is Food52's entry.

Of course when the competition is in food, we all end up as winners, but we'll leave the final judgment up to you guys. Here are the entries!

Jamie and Kenji

Food52's Entry: Leftover Turkey Sandwich on Schmaltz-Fried Sweet Potato Latkes


[Photograph: James Ransom]

Food52's creation starts with freshly fried crisp sweet potato latkes, which take the place of bread in this sandwich (as one of their commenters put it: "Gluten-Free Turkey Sandwich!"). Stuffed in between them is leftover sliced turkey breast, cranberry-applesauce, and a shaved brussels sprout salad dressed in warm schmaltz-apple cider vinegar dressing. It all comes served with a side of gravy for dunking.

Serious Eats' Entry: Latke-Crusted Turkey Stuffing Fritter with Liquid Cranberry Core and Turkey Schmaltz Gravy

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

We wanted to combine the quintessential flavors of Thanksgiving—stuffing, turkey, and cranberry sauce—with the essence of Hanukkah—latkes and deep fried things. The original concept was to make a sort of fritter out of stuffing with a liquid gravy center that would burst when you bite into it, but Jamie suggested that we make the center cranberry sauce instead and make a gravy out of turkey schmaltz to serve on the side in order to boost that Hanukkah flavor.

To construct these, I started by making a cranberry gel and and set it inside small spherical molds. After freezing the cranberry center, I then set them in the center of a ball of stuffing which I also shaped in a spherical mold. In order to get the texture to be a bit more fritter-like, the stuffing mixture was relatively high in eggs and moisture so that it'd puff a bit during the subsequent frying stage. It was also flavored with some homemade turkey-sage sausage.

The final step was to freeze the balls again, then coat them in a latke mixture. Initially I tried using a more traditional latke mixture with shredded potato and onion bound with matzo meal and eggs, but the seal it created wasn't quite strong enough—the balls fell apart in the fryer. Instead, I went with a bit of flour in place of the matzo meal, resulting in a lighter, crisper coating that still had that unmistakable latke flavor of fried potato and egg.

They come out of the fryer ultra-crisp with a light, puffy stuffing layer and a soft, near-liquid cranberry center that bursts in your mouth when you bite into it.

Let us know your thoughts on our respective dishes, and stay tuned for a recipe for our Latke-Coated Stuffing Fritters later today!

J. Kenji López-Alt

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