Chanukah, the annual Jewish Festival of Lights, is filled with the joy of myriad traditions. Lighting the menorah, spinning the dreidel, handing out the gelt, opening a gift each of the eight nights. The holiday celebrates how a small army of Jews defeated Antiochus IV’s army that intended to oppress and kill them. The Jews, led by the Maccabees, returned to their desecrated temple in Jerusalem. There was only enough oil to light the temple’s candelabrum for one day, but it miraculously burned for eight days and eight nights. Today, Jewish people light menorahs to celebrate that miracle.
Part of the Chanukah tradition, then, is to eat foods fried in oil. In addition to the savory latkes (potato pancakes), a favorite Chanukah treat is the sweet sufganiyah, often translated as jelly doughnut. Rabbi Josh Franklin of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons notes that doughnuts need not be filled with jelly—in fact, he has filled some of his own with pumpkin custard in the past. But jelly doughnuts became popular with Jews in 16th century Europe when sugar became less expensive and pastries were popularized. Who doesn’t love fried dough? Indulge in your own sufganiyah this season on the East End—make sure you call ahead to confirm flavors!
Beach Bakery & Grand Cafe
112 Main Street, Westhampton Beach
15 Lumber Lane, East Hampton
Grindstone Coffee & Donuts
7 Main Street, Sag Harbor
Junda’s Pastry Crust & Crumbs
1612 Main Road, Jamesport
39 West Montauk Highway #7, Hampton Bays
North Fork Doughnut Company
13175 Main Road, Mattituck