Those are no ordinary jelly donuts you’re drooling over.
Those are home-made Hanukkah sufganiyot, deep-fried and sugar-dusted rounds of dough filled with jelly (or custard) after frying — the frying commemorative of the miracle of the Temple oil.
Though she produced no miracle, local blogger Gayle of Kosher Camembert did call her evening making those perfectly-shaped sufganiyot “special.” She spent hours frying. Below, Gayle recounts the fry in celebration of Hanukkah this week, and shares her recipe.
As many of you probably know, the Hanukkah story centers around oil. There was a battle and a victory and a temple to be restored, and oil for the menorah that lasted eight days instead of one. We light candles for eight days, adding a candle for each night.Traditional Hanukkah food is all about the oil and frying – latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts).
This year, I started celebrating the night before the first night of the holiday. I didn’t light any candles, but I could have said a shehecheyanu — the blessing traditionally recited on the first night of Hanukkah, other holidays, and special occasions. This was a special occasion alright. Because I fried. And I never fry.
Last Monday, a friend from Israel sent me a recipe for sufganiyot. Excited to try a batch that very night, I left work a little early to pick up what I needed. A bag of flour. A bag of sugar. A dozen eggs. Yeast. And two gallons of oil. (Two!)
And then I rushed home to mix and knead the dough, to let it rise, to roll it out, to cut out circles, to let them rise again (all while drinking a bottle of wine). And then, we fried. We tested the oil with little scraps of dough until it was perfect.
I scooched the first doughnut towards the edge of the cookie sheet, helping it along the way with a spatula and slid it into the oil. A quick bob in the oil and then a float, it turned golden to brown and was ready to be flipped. A few more minutes and it landed on the paper towel-lined countertop. Several more batches and we had an army of plump beauties lined up at attention.
Armed with a new turkey baster, I pierced the side of one of the sufganiyot, gently nudged the tip into the center and slowly squeezed the bulb, drawing the tip backwards to the edge, leaving a trail of jam behind.
We tore open this first sufganiyah and, between mouthfuls, filled the rest.
The final touch – I showered them with powdered sugar.
As we plucked up the sufganiyot, they left their chubby little outlines behind.
Happy Hanukkah everyone!