Monday, December 3, 2007


If I had to choose between a bagel and a danish, I would choose a doughnut. Between a muffin and a croissant? Close, but again a doughnut. I love all doughnuts: Rosquillas, Bomboloni and Beignets. Growing up the two doughnut options were Dunkin' Donuts and Schultz's in Armonk. Schultz's doughnuts were the stuff of legend. Hot, small, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Eaten straight out of the doughnut machine, plain or with powdered sugar or cinnamon. They were some of the best things I'd ever eaten. Dunkin' Donuts didn't come close, but were at least somewhat respectable, as this was during their "time to make the donuts" phase when the donuts were made on the premises. Today, with a new Dunkin' Donuts on every corner, you'll find the trays empty and the remaining doughnuts horribly stale and disappointing.

All this brings me to sufganiyot, jelly doughnuts, the traditional Hanukkah food treat. Sufganiyot traditionally have either apricot or raspberry jam in the center, much like the Berliner Pfannkuchen of Germany. And with Hanukkah starting this week ("so early this year!") I'd like to bring these delicious treats to the fore. I've only eaten homemade sufganiyot once: My grandmother made them one year and I think I cried. They were wonderful. Me, I'm afraid my entire apartment will smell like fried food for weeks, so I have yet to attempt them. I'm enclosing a recipe for those who are braver than I, and in turn I ask that you assuage my fears of the deep fryer so that next year I can rewrite history.

In the meantime, it's time to buy the doughnuts.

Sufganiyot (adapted from Joan Nathan's Jewish Holiday Cookbook)

2 scant tablespoons (2 packages) active dry yeast
4 tablespoons sugar, plus sugar for rolling
3/4 cup lukewarm water or milk
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
2 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter or pareve margarine, at room temperature
Vegetable oil for deep-frying
1/2 cup plum, strawberry or apricot jam

Sprinkle the yeast and 2 tablespoons of the sugar into the water or milk and stir to dissolve. Place the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, egg yolks, salt, cinnamon, butter, and the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Knead well, about 5 minutes, working the butter or margarine into the dough and kneading until the dough is elastic. You can also use a food processor fitted with a steel blade to do this, processing about 2 minutes.

Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise overnight in the refrigerator. Sprinkle flour on the work surface. Roll out the dough to an 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter or floured drinking glass, cut out circles. Let the dough circles rise 15 minutes more. With your hands, gently form the dough circles into balls. Pour 2 inches of oil into a heavy pot and heat until very hot, about 375 degrees. Slip the doughnuts into the oil, 4 or 5 at a time, using a slotted spoon. Turn them when brown, after a few minutes, to crisp on the other side. Drain on paper towels.

Using an injector available at cooking stores, inject a teaspoon of jam into each doughnut. Then roll all of them in granulated sugar and serve immediately.


Andrea said...

Mmmmmm....doughnuts. Is there anything they can't do?

Deborah Dowd said...

I just saw a reipe for a version of these on Coconut and Lime. Is it my karma to make some jelly doughnuts?

justine said...

schultz' doughnuts; my madeleine.