Israeli Jelly Donuts “Sufganiyot”

Israeli Jelly Donuts “Sufganiyot”
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Sufganiyot, also known as, Israeli jelly donuts or “Hanukkah donuts” are deep-fried jelly donuts that are traditionally eaten in Israel during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Here the oil used to fry the donuts, like a traditional latke, are reminiscent of the oil that miraculously burned— according to the Hanukkah story—in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.

Israeli jelly donuts

Filled with your favorite fruit jam and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, these easy-to-make holiday treats never disappoint.  The custom of eating oil fried foods on Hanukkah is an old tradition that has been around since ancient times.

I have always known donuts symbolized the miracle of the burning oil lamps in the ancient Holy Temple in Jerusalem. But  I did not know the whole jelly story, until now.

Israeli jelly donuts

In the 16th century jelly was added when sugar became cheaper and Europe experienced “a pastry revolution“. During that time Polish Jews started putting jelly in the donuts that they ate when celebrating Hanukkah.

Israeli jelly donuts

According to Jewish cookbook author Joan Nathan, it wasn’t until the creation of modern Israel that the tradition of eating sweet fried foods took off. During this time, Jewish leaders were trying to form a national identity. In doing so, they were trying to come up with foods and/or traditions that were distinctly Israeli. The creation of sufganiyot (which translates to mean “sponge” as in a sponge to soak up oil) is one of those very custom and personal, I’m thankful for it.

My recipe for Israeli jelly donuts is not a simple recipe, but it is a tasty one. Effort, patience and time are required, but trust me, they are worth it. This is the kind of recipe kids should be involved in. But be prepared, they disappear much fast that way!

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Israeli Jelly Donuts (Sufganiyot)

December 18, 2019
: 18-20 donuts
: 20 min
: 20 min
: 2 hr 30 min
: medium

By:

Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup warm water, divided
  • 1/2 ounce active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberry or raspberry jam
  • confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Directions
  • Step 1 In a small mixing bowl add 1/2 cup warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and add 1 teaspoon sugar. Leave for about 10 minutes until nice and foamy. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Step 2 In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a KitchenAid, fitted with a hook attachment, add the flour, sugar, eggs, yolks, butter, brandy, remaining water and salt. Mix on low until they are blended. Add the yeast mixture and continue to mix with the dough on low until the ingredients come together to a dough, then turn the mixer up to medium speed, and knead for for 8 minutes, scrapping down the sides as needed until smooth. Note: If the dough is very sticky, go ahead and add add 1-2 additional tablespoons flour.
  • Step 3 Place the dough in the prepared bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
  • Step 4 Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set near your work station. On a floured surface roll out half the dough 3/4 inch thick, flouring the dough occasionally. Using a 2 1/2-to-3-inch cutter or glass, cut the dough in rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat the above with the remaining dough. Cover the rounds with damp kitchen bowls and allow to rise in a warm spot for about 50 minutes.
  • Step 5 In a medium heavy sauce pot pour in vegetable oil to measure about 4″ and heat over medium-high heat until a kitchen thermometer registers 350 degrees F.
  • Step 6 Working in batches, fry the dough until golden, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet and let cool slightly before filling.
  • Step 7 To Fill the Donuts: Place the jam into piping bag fitted with 1/4-inch tip. Insert tip into top of sufganiyot and gently fill until jam just pokes out of hole. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

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