In many cultures around the world, Winter is a time for festivity. The reasons for that are numerous, though most of them are rooted in a single ancient paganistic fear that “the Winter will never stop”. So, during this time, many rituals were created to celebrate some motifs that embody Summer time - Light, Rich Food, Importance of Companionship, etc. In the Jewish culture, the celebration of Hanukkah is a good example for that, besides being titled “Festival of Light” it also includes a very sweet pastry called Sufganiyah. This doughnut which sports many variations from different Jewish communities around the world, has its own ‘siblings’ from other cultures (not surprisingly, happen to pop-up at the same time of the year - again the influence of the past on the present) such as the German Berliner, Austrian Krapfen, Dutch Olibol, Russian Ponchik, Lithuanian Spurgos, Polish Paczki and many others. The Sufganiyah has many variations, here is a traditional recipe: Preparing time: 2.5 hours
Ingredients (30 units of 80 gram each)
• 1 kg white flour
• 20 gram dry yeast (50 gram fresh yeast)
• 130 gram white sugar
• 1.5 tsp salt
• Zest from 1 lemon
• 3 eggs
• 120 gram unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
• 2 tbs brandy
• 400 ml whole milk
• 2-4 liters of cooking oil
• Powdered sugar
The dough - mix the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, sugar, salt and zest) add the wet ingredients (eggs, butter, brandy and 200 ml milk), start to knead while adding the rest of the 200 ml milk until the dough is smooth and soft (around 5-7 minutes). Place the dough in an oiled bowl, wrap it with a plastic folie and let rise until double in size (1-2 hours).
Oil 2-3 baking papers and lay them on trays. Place a vessel filled with sunflower oil and a brush next to the trays.
Take out the dough and lay it on a floured surface, punch the air out of it. Now, either use a scale to measure each unit or divide the dough to 3 equal parts, each part to 10 equal smaller parts (now you have 30 units). Roll each unit into a ball and place it on the oiled baking papers, brush each one of the balls with the sunflower oil so they won’t get dry. Place each ball at a 3 cm distance from another ball . Finish with the rolling and let the balls rise until they bounce softly back (15-20 minutes).
In the meantime, place a wide and deep cooking pan on the fire, get it to 180C (use a deep fry thermometer, if you don’t have one there are some ways to check the temperature*), when the dough has risen - delicately move each ball into the pan (do not over crowd it, make sure there is enough space between the balls, they will continue to rise), give each side of the ball 1-2 minutes until it reaches golden-brown shade.
Take out the baked Sufganiyot and place them on a paper towel, let them cool off a bit. Warm up the filling (using a microwave or Bain-Marie) and using a syringe - inject the filling into the Sufganiyot. Sprinkle powdered sugar and serve.
Wishing everyone a happy winter time and Chag Sameach! (”Happy Holiday” in Hebrew)
* How to check when the oil reaches a 180C temperature ?
1. Drop a corn kernel into the oil, once it pops into a popcorn - the temperature is right (just don’t forget to take it out).
2. Use a the handle of a wooden spoon - stick it inside the oil:
- If nothing happens - it’s not hot enough.
- If it fizzles with lots of bubbles - too hot! Lower the flame.
- If there are some bubbles coming around the handle - it’s the correct temperature.
by: Amit Rabin