Gayle Squires is the chef behind Kosher Camembert, a blog devoted to global cuisine. She shared her recipe with us for sufganiyot, a traditional and beloved treat during Hanukkah. These jelly doughnuts are best enjoyed freshly fried, she advises, “but they will last about 24 hours if well-wrapped.” Gayle used raspberry jam to fill the sufganiyot, but you can use any filling you like.
Eating fried foods on Hanukkah pays tribute to the Jewish miracle of the temple oil.
Makes 12 doughnuts
2 packets dry yeast (or 2 tablespoons)
3/4 cup warm water
1 cup whole milk (you can use water instead if you’d like to keep the sufganiyot non-dairy)
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons shortening or margarine (Crisco works great here)
1 teaspoon salt
5 cup flour (or more)
1 gallon (or more) vegetable oil (vegetable or peanut oil is best; canola oil works okay, too)
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Proof. Mix yeast with warm water and a pinch of sugar. After about 5 minutes, it will foam up.
Heat. Warm milk in a pan over low heat until it reaches body temperature.
Mix. In a large bowl, mix sugar, shortening, and salt until creamy. Add eggs and mix. Add yeast mixture and milk and continue to mix. Add 2 cups of the flour. Beat in the remaining flour a half-cup at a time until the dough is very elastic and no longer sticks to the bowl. I had to add a total of 6 cups.
Knead. Knead dough for 5-10 minutes. I started kneading in my mixer and then finished up the last few minutes by hand on a floured counter.
Rise. Put dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in bulk — at least an hour. I heat my oven to the lowest temperature possible (170 degrees F) and then turn it off and leave the covered bowl inside to rise.
Knead. Once dough has doubled, knead it again briefly.
Roll. Roll the dough out on a floured counter until it is about a 1/2-inch thick.
Cut. Using a drinking glass, cut the dough into rounds. Re-roll the scraps and cut the rest of the rounds. These (the rounds from the re-rolled dough) will need to rise a little bit longer than the others. Keep the remaining scraps to test the oil.
Rise again. Place the rounds on a well-floured cookie sheet (ideally the kind without edges) so the dough is easier to slide right off into the oil. Let rise again until doubled in size, at least another hour. The rounds will get nice and round.
Heat. Fill a really wide pot with high sides with oil and heat over low to medium heat. Remember those scraps left over? Gently slide one into the oil. If one side browns in 1-2 minutes, the oil is too hot. If it takes more than 5 minutes, the oil is not hot enough. You’ll probably need to test and adjust the temperature a few times. The oil is perfect when it forms a lot of teeny tiny rolling bubbles around the dropped dough. Most recipes call for the oil to be 350 degrees F.
Fry! Once you’ve got the oil at the right temperature, lower the cookie sheet close to the surface of the oil and scootch your first roly-poly round into the oil. Tiny bubbles should surround the doughnut. When the first side puffs up and reaches a nice brown (a bit darker than “golden”), flip it over. It took us about 3-4 minutes per side. And we made about 3-4 per batch.
Drain. Cover your counter or a few plates with several layers of paper towels. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sufganiyot from the oil onto the paper towels and drain off excess oil.
Fill. Load a turkey baster with whatever filling you want to use. Poke it into the side of a doughnut as far as it will go. Slowly and steadily squeeze the filling into the sufganiyah while gently pulling back to the edge of the doughnut.
Dust. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the top of the sufganiyot.