Because (in Hebrew) sufganiyot is plural, sufganiyah is singular, and who can eat just one round donut at Chanukah? These deep-fried donuts are eaten in Israel and around the world during this holiday season to observe the custom of eating fried foods in commemoration of the miracle of the Temple oil.
Bakers and grocers sell the sufganiyot singly and by the box, and in Israel bakers hold competitions to vie for the “best” version, to be decided by local food critics. At their simplest, sufganiyot are a round, deep-fried donut, dusted with powdered sugar. When my son, Aaron, began (at the age of 10 years) to prepare them for our family Chanukah celebration, he injected them with red jelly. Today, gourmet versions can be filled with jelly, or even dulce de leche, vanilla or chocolate cream (in which case they are dairy) and even highly potent araq.
According to Wikipedia, Angel Bakeries, the largest bakery in Israel, fries more than 250,000 sufganiyot every day during the eight-day Hanukkah festival.
While we are not going to prepare 250,000 sufganiyot at Hungarian Kosher Foods this Sunday (December 14), we promise to have enough for everyone. Do stop by!
And if you miss our sufganiyot, then you can always enjoy them at home, by making our family’s special recipe.
Margit Kirsche’s Sufganiyot
For Parve, use margarine and non-dairy milk such as almond, soy or parve creamer; for dairy use butter and milk. The lemon zest is optional, but I always use it for the extra flavor it adds. When choosing a vegetable oil for the deep fryer be sure it has a high smoke point.
Makes 2 to 3 dozen donuts, depending on size
1 ( ¼ ounce or 7 gram) package active dry yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter or margarine
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk or non-dairy alternative
1 large egg
½ teaspoon lemon zest, optional
3 ½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, as needed, for deep fryer
Preserves, as needed
Confectioner’s sugar, as needed
In a small bowl dissolve yeast in water, add 1 tablespoon of sugar. Reserve.
In a small saucepan over low heat melt the butter and milk. Add remaining ¼ cup sugar and salt and mix until dissolved and the liquid is lukewarm but not hot.
Add the egg and lemon zest if using and mix.
Pour 3 ½ cups of flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add reserved milk mixture and the yeast mixture. Knead until the dough is smooth and satiny, about 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed.
Remove the dough. Clean and oil the bowl. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.
Shape dough into small balls about the size of a ping-pong ball, place on parchment paper-lined half sheet pans, and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil as needed in a deep-fryer to 375°F. Pour about 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar onto a large plate, adding more as needed.
Fry dough balls in deep fryer a few at a time (so they don’t stick together) until they are cooked through and rise to the top. Remove to a paper-lined tray.
To insert preserves, fill an injector with jelly of choice, insert the injector and squeeze in the donut. Roll the donut in confectioner’s sugar.