Jelly donuts (sufganiyot) are one of the most symbolic dishes of Hanukkah. Foods cooked in oil have been made to symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah since the first celebration, but it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that jelly donuts became tied to Hanukkah. The first recipe for the jelly donut was found in 1485, in a cookbook printed in Nuremberg, Germany, called the Kuchenmeisterei (Mastery of the Kitchen) — one of the first to be printed on Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. The original donut recipe didn’t have a hole, but rather was a pillowy pocket of dough, filled with jam. The recipe instructed bakers to make a jam “sandwich” with two circular pieces of dough, to be fried in lard.
To this day, sufganiyot are hugely popular in Israel (and here in North America) in the weeks leading up to Hanukkah, and they’re stuffed not only with jelly, but with cream, halvah, or chocolate ganache.
Sufganiyot are not super complicated, and are super delicious when made fresh at home, filled right away with your favourite jam, nutella or even pudding.
Why not try to make these this holiday season for your family.
For the dough:
Sift flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar and mix well. Add the yeast and mix.
Using a mixer fitted with a hook attachment mix the flour mixture on low speed and add the egg and butter. Gradually add the warm milk and continue mixing for 8-10 minutes until the dough is soft.
Make the dough into a ball and place it in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, for about 1.5-2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, place dough on a lightly floured work surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to 3/4 inch thick. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut circles out of the dough, as close to one another as possible.
Place the dough circles on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise again for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a deep frying pan until it reaches 350F.
Place around four dough circles into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown, but not too brown.
Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining dough. Allow to cool slightly before filling.
To fill the sufganiyot: Fill a piping bag with your desired filling. Using a sharp knife, make a small slit on the top the sufganiyot. Place the piping bag inside the slit and fill until you can see the filling on top.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.