'Tis the season for tasty traditions

The Maven Baker serves up Hanukkah favorite

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – From the menorah to the dreidel, Hanukkah is a Holiday rich with traditions, including one that tempts the taste buds.

"Many people don't know that doughnuts are very much associated with Hanukkah," said Jennifer Shwartz, head chef at The Maven Baker in Hollywood.

Doughnuts, or sufganiyot as they're known in Hebrew, are a big part of the tradition of making food fried in oil for the eight day festival of light.

"I haven't taken part in Hanukkah things before, so this is new for me and really good," said Audrey Rohlehr, one of several taste testers during a gathering at the bakery.

It's a culinary custom that started with standard jelly doughnuts and has expanded to embrace a variety of fillings and flavors.

"Like the lemon. It had delicious candied lemon wheel and meringue on top, and it has this really good lemon custard inside," said 10-year-old Serenity Shwartz.

There are also savory sufganiyot and creative concoctions with unusual combinations.

"Chopped liver, and people are like, 'Chopped liver?' It's pretty crazy," said Chef Shwartz.

This is also where pulled brisket, pastrami and pastry meet.

"We also have pear stuffed topped with duck prosciutto," said Shwartz.

In the holiday spirit of giving and sharing, this year The Maven Baker is donating hundreds of doughnuts to the Dorit and Ben J. Genet Cupboard, a food pantry that feeds the poor.

"It's just a little extra treat that we are able to put in the baskets of all the people we serve, which is currently 700 in Broward County," said Lourdes Fiegler, director of The Cupboard. 

The Maven Baker has come up with close to 50 doughnut varieties and is planning a burger doughnut next.

About the Authors:

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.