I was first introduced to sufganiyot (the Hebrew word for doughnuts) two years ago when a boyfriend invited me to dinner with his aunt and uncle. He failed to mention his whole family would be there, parents, siblings, cousins and both sets of grandparents. I walked into a room of 20 people I had never met already sitting down to Hanukah dinner. Luckily I had baked some dreidel shaped sugar cookies so I wasn’t empty-handed, but talk about awkwaaaarrd!
Anyway, the point of the anecdote is his aunt had made these delicious jelly doughnuts, known traditionally as sufganiyot. Fried foods are traditional for Hanukah because of the miracle of the oil burning for eight nights instead of one, and we celebrate by eating many oil-rich foods, the most popular being latkes or potato pancakes. I was invited to a Hanukah latke party tonight in Brooklyn and decided to contribute by bringing my own sweet treats to counter the pounds of latke’s my friend Larry would be preparing.
My boyfriend rigged up a jelly injector with a straw and a ziplock bag which ended up working perfectly and we got these fried, filled, and powdered in about 20 minutes. Not bad for a Sunday afternoon.
- 2 (1/4 ounce) envelopes dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 5 cups flour
- oil, for deep frying
- 1 (13 1/2 ounce) jar strawberry jelly (or other fruit jellies) I used Bonne Maman
- confectioners’ sugar
Sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand five minutes or until foamy. I put the yeast and water in a glass measuring cup to make sure it rose. The mixture grew in size from 1/4 up to 1/2 a cup before I added it to the next step.
In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening(or butter), and two cups flour. Mix for a few minutes at low speed.
Beat in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for about five minutes or until smooth and elastic. I added an additional 1/2 cup flour till it was no longer sticky.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour or a bit longer. I always have trouble with my dough rising in my apartment, I find it’s too cold and dry. My trick is to turn my oven on to 200 for about 2/3 minutes then turn off and add my dough with a damp cloth on top to rise. Maybe that’s cheating but it works.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and gently roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into circles. Let rise again until doubled in bulk. I use my same oven trick again here. I gave them about 20 minutes to rise.
Heat 4 cups of oil in a deep-fryer or large pot to 350, til the oil pops. You’ll want about 2 inches of oil on the bottom. Carefully slide doughnuts into hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn the doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Doughnuts are ready when both sides are golden brown. I used tongs to remove doughnuts from hot oil.
Fill with 1 T jelly using a pastry injector, or by cutting a small slit in the side of the doughnut and inserting the jelly with a baby spoon, or makeshift ziplock bag/straw contraption as I did. Roll in confectioners’ sugar and serve to happy eaters.