Sufganiyot (pronounced soof-gahn-eeyot) are pillowy Israeli doughnuts deep-fried in oil which are filled with jam or jelly and served at Hanukkah. These spongy sweets are a jelly doughnut and beignet combo not only popular in Israel, but also in the rest of the world thanks to their incredible flavor and fascinating history. Sufganiyot are served during Hanukkah because, like the other fried foods, they celebrate the history of this Jewish holiday when the oil accomplished a miracle as the candle burned for 8 consecutive days instead of just one.
Sufganiyot (sufganiyah in singular) are super soft on the inside, slightly crisp on the outside and packed with flavor with creamy strawberry jam, but you can also try different filling options like Nutella, custard or caramel. Although it seems to be a difficult recipe, you just need to have a little patience when preparing Sufganiyot like the ones at the bakery.
Sufganiyah is thought to date as far back as 1485, when the recipe was published in a cookbook in Germany. The dessert became so popular that it also made its way to Denmark and Russia, while 19th-century Germans began calling the doughnut Bismarck, in honor of German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
This doughnut was traditionally fried in lard, but Polish Jews found a kosher solution by frying the doughnut in oil. The recipe came to Poland under the name of pochik and then to Palestine through Polish Jewish immigrants where it became associated with Hanukkah celebrations and finally changed its name to sufganiyah, which means "spongy dough" according to the Talmud.
You don't need fancy ingredients to make perfect sufganiyot. Simply use pantry staples like flour, sugar, egg, water and salt, then use instant yeast as leavening agent and nutmeg and lemon zest to add flavor. Finally, you need strawberry jam for the filling and confectioner's sugar for dusting.
Making Sufganiyot is easier than you might think, you just need to have a little patience. Start by dissolving the yeast in a small bowl of warm water with sugar, then add the dry ingredients and eggs and knead. Add the butter and knead until absorbed. Form a ball, place in a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until double in size.
When the dough has risen, knead it quickly for a few minutes, then divide it into portions using a round pastry cutter and let them rest for half an hour. Add frying oil to a pan and start frying two balls of dough at a time, cooking them for 2 minutes per side, flipping halfway. When they are ready, place the doughnuts on a plate with paper towels for draining and removing any remaining oil. Finally, poke a hole on the side of each doughnut and add the strawberry jam with a squeeze bottle. Before serving, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.
Weigh all ingredients well for outstanding results.
It's important to use warm water to let activate the yeast.
You can also use fresh yeast instead of active dry yeast, but remember not to add salt in this case.
If you don't have yeast, you can use 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
If your yeast mixture isn't foamy, your yeast may have expired, so pay attention to expiration date otherwise your dough won't rise.
You can also make sufganiyot in Air Fryer. Grease the basket with canola oil, add 3 to 5 piece of dough and brush each one top with canola oil. Fry at 350°F for up 6 minutes, flipping halfway.
You can replace warm water with milk.
You can cover sufganiyot with plastic wrap and store them at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up a week.
You can also freeze them before you add confectioner's sugar. Frozen sufganiyot will last for up to 3 months.
In a small bowl, combine 1/3 of your warm water, a tablespoon of sugar and yeast, then let it sit for up to 10 minutes or until foamy.
Sift the flour, then add in the remaining warm water and sugar, salt, egg yolks, nutmeg and yeast mixture. Knead the dough until it forms a ball, then add the butter. Knead again until the butter is absorbed.
Place the dough ball in a large bowl. Cover with cling film and let it rest in a warm place for at least an hour and a half or until double in size.
Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough until 1/4-inch thick. Cut out the dough into several pieces with a round pastry cutter.
Lightly dust the tops with flour, then let the dough pieces rest for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, strain the strawberry jam and pour into a squeeze bottle.
After rising time, heat a deep-frying pan with enough vegetable oil. Fry the dough two at the time for about 2 minutes per side or until golden brown, flipping halfway. Be very careful because the dough can burn quickly.
Let the fried sufganiyot drain on paper towels until cool. Using a straw, poke a hole into each sufganiyot on top and fill the Israeli doughnut center with strawberry jam using the squeeze bottle. You can also use a teaspoon.
Dust the sufganiyot with confectioner's sugar. Serve and enjoy!