Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights, commemorating a miracle in which a small jar of oil managed to light up a temple not just for one night but for eight. For this reason, foods cooked in oil are special Hanukkah treats. In search of a timely recipe, we turned to chef Einat Admony, owner of Balaboosta in New York’s West Village. Balaboosta serves up a bevy of dishes from across the Middle East, all spawned from her Israeli, Perisan, and Yemenite heritage. Here, she shares her recipe for sufganiyot, which can be found in her first cookbook, Balaboosta. Of course, you don’t need to celebrate Hanukkah to enjoy these sweet delights!
“A sufganiya is an Israeli treat similar to a doughnut but without the hole in the middle. The pastry is also stuffed with berry preserves and then topped with powdered sugar; you’ll be left with sticky hands. We eat these delicacies at Hanukkah, when it’s cold and rainy. You can experiment with your own fillings—I suggest peanut butter, chocolate, and dulce de leche to start.”—Einat Admony, excerpted from Balaboosta (Artisan Books)
Makes 15 to 20 doughnuts
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus flour for the work surface and baking sheet
- 3⁄4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1⁄3 cup sugar, plus sugar for dusting
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
- Canola oil for deep frying and for the bowl
- Blueberry or raspberry preserves
- Place the flour in the large bowl of a stand mixer; if you don’t have a stand mixer, use a large mixing bowl. Create a large well in the center, and pour in 1/4 cup of the milk, the yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let stand until the yeast mixture becomes foamy, about 10 minutes.
- In another bowl, stir the remaining 1/2 cup milk, the remaining sugar, and the eggs, salt, brandy, butter, and lemon zest.
- If using a stand mixer: With the dough hook attached, turn the mixer to low speed and mix the yeast mixture into the flour. Then slowly add the milk mixture, beating until just well combined, about 3 minutes. Crank up the setting to knead the dough for 5 minutes.
If using a mixing bowl: Incorporate the flour with the yeast mixture using your hands. Then slowly pour in the milk mixture with one hand while working the flour into the liquid with the other. You can knead the mixture in the bowl or put it on your kitchen counter over a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a large ball and transfer to another bowl slicked with canola oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place away from any drafts. After an hour, the dough should double in size.
- Lightly flour the surface of your work area and roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Use a 2 1/2-inch round cutter or drinking glass to cut the sufganiyot and place them on a lightly dusted baking sheet. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the sufganiyot to prevent sticking, and cover with plastic wrap. Let them rise for another 15 minutes in a warm place.
- Meanwhile, heat a deep skillet with 2 inches of oil to 365˚F. Working in small batches, fry the sufganiyot in the hot oil until golden brown, about 30 seconds on each side. Drain on paper towels.
- Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a pointed tip with jam. Make a hole at the top of each doughnut using a toothpick or wooden skewer. Insert the pastry tip into the hole and squeeze about a tablespoon of filling into each sufganiya. Roll them around in some sugar—and watch them disappear in seconds.