There are still a few nights of Chanukah left to make Israeli fried jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot. There’s also breakfast every day of the year. Since I’ve never tasted Israeli sufganiyot, the squishy, jelly-oozing doughnuts from the bakeries of my youth are my reference point. Powdered sugar snowing everywhere with each bite is an essential part of the experience. Traditional sufganiyot seem to have a dainty sprinkling of sugar on top. This is not my approach. I’m all in with sufganiyot so white my camera captures them in black and white. When I tried to photograph my sufganiyot I even had a few panicky moments when I thought my camera was broken as I attempted to figure out why the pictures were devoid of color!
My husband doesn’t share my sensibility for messiness, so I always coat some of my sufganiyot in granulated sugar. The method of gently shaking the sufganiyot in sugar is the same, only the joy of licking powdered sugar off your hands, face, and plate (when no one’s looking) is missing.
Injecting the jelly in the doughnuts is a bit messy and imprecise, but adds to the homemade charm. Sufganiyot made by sandwiching jelly between the dough before the second rise come out looking more professional, but the jelly seems to affect both the proofing and cooking of the dough. I prefer consistently cooked to oddly undercooked centers.
I usually make mini sufganiyot which seem to cook quicker and more evenly. More importantly, smaller to me means you are required to eat more than one!
Sufganiyot are made from a rich milk and egg brioche kind of dough. This is one yeast dough that does not need to be messed with too much since the goal is a more tender crumb than you would want for bread. The soft dough can be a little bit tricky to work with yet I can assure you, the effort is worth it! The flavor and texture far surpass any doughnuts you can buy. Warm out of the fryer these treats have the same appeal as street fair or Italian carnival fried dough. Sufganiyot really need to be eaten the same day they are made… as if there are any leftovers to ever worry about….
2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup warm fat free milk (between 110-115 degrees – use thermometer to test temperature and touch it at least once to know what this temperature feels like. I am always surprised at how warm 115 degrees actually is)
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup seedless jelly (black raspberry or blackberry are my favorite choices because they are a bit more assertive than strawberry or raspberry)
Canola oil for frying
1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
- In large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in warm milk, sugar and 1 cup flour. Let sit for 20 minutes. Add butter, egg yolks, salt, vanilla, yeast mixture and 2 ½ cups flour. Mix until smooth, adding more flour as necessary to form a soft dough ball – without kneading.
- Place dough in a lightly buttered bowl, turning once to make sure butter also coats top of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Punch dough down and knead for about 30 seconds on a lightly floured surface, adding more flour if necessary until dough can be rolled without sticking to surface.
- Divide dough in half and roll to ½ inch thick disk. If needed, sprinkle lightly with flour. Use a 2” round cutter to cut 32 to 36 circles.
- Place on a greased or buttered baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. If making sufganiyot for the morning, this rise can be done in the refrigerator overnight.
- In a saucepan, deep-fat fryer or electric skillet, heat at least 2” of oil to 375°. A thermometer is the best way to make sure the temperature is correct. Fry sufganiyot without letting them touch for only 1 to 2 minutes on each side until golden brown all around. Drain sufganiyot on three layers of paper towels placed over a brown paper bag. The paper bag absorbs the oil that soaks through the paper towels.
- The easiest way to fill sufganiyot is to use a pastry bag with a #4 (3/8”) smooth tip. Poke hole in side of sufganiyot with tip and gently inject about 1-2 teaspoons of jelly into sufganiyot. Once you do this a few times you will know when the sufganiyot has enough jelly before it won’t hold anymore. I like the jelly to gush out of my sufganiyot – you may like a little less jelly for a more grown-up experience.
- Put confectioner’s sugar in paper bag and shake warm doughnuts gently while warm. For maximum sugar coverage, repeat.Yield: 32 doughnuts.