'Tis the season of lights when Jews commemorate the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, in the 2nd. century BCE. Rather than being a celebration of a of the military victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian army of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Hanukkah commemorates a miracle. According to the Talmud, after the Temple had been cleansed, what was left of consecrated olive oil was only enough to light the eternal flame for one day. Miraculously, it burned for for an entire week. To me, freedom of worship is the real miracle. As a descendant of Sephardic Jews, Hanukkah is a time of reflection and joy for me.
To celebrate the sweetness of freedom, I made cranberry relish spiced with cinnamon and jazzed up with golden rum. It makes a good filling for sufgnayot, the jelly filled doughnut tradutionally served at Hanukkah, but folks who celebrate the winter solstice and Christmas, are welcome to the recipe.I plan to try the same recipe with kumquats instead of oranges.
SWEETNESS AND LIGHT
1 package fresh cranberries
Two oranges, minced
Three quarters of a cup water
One cup sugar
Half a cup rum
1 teaspoon almond extract
A pinch of grated Saigon cinnamon
Bring water and sugar to a boil. Allow it to boil for ten minutes. Add cranberries, orange, rum, almond extract and cinnamon. Reduce heat to medium and cook for ten minutes, stirring frequently. Let it cool to room temperature before refrigerating.