Hanukkah is all about the miracle of oil. Sufganiyot, a traditional Israeli dessert that is eaten around the world, celebrate the power of oil. Deep frying is what gives these doughnut-like pastries their puffy texture and beautiful brown color. Traditionally they’re filled with jelly or jam. Chef John Adler created a twist with this Sufganiyot recipe filled with lemon curd.
Homemade sufganiyot recipe
Makes: about 2 dozen (24) doughnuts
- 1 package dry yeast or 1 ¾ tsp instant yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
- 3 Tbsps granulated sugar, divided
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 cup cake flour
- 3 1/2 Tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- Zest of 1 large lemon or ½ an orange
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp brandy or marsala (optional)
- 2 cups powdered sugar (for tossing the donuts)
- 4 cups neutral oil, for frying
- 1 cup store-bought jam*
Proof the yeast:
In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or 1 ¾ tsp instant yeast), milk, 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar, and ¼ cup water. Stir to combine and let stand 2 to 3 minutes, or until the yeast has bloomed and is bubbly.
Make & proof the dough:
To the bowl of proofed yeast, add the all-purpose flour, cake flour, butter, egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, salt, remaining 2 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, and, if using, brandy. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir until combined and a dough forms. Transfer the dough to a work surface. Knead 3 to 4 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. The dough should spring back when lightly pressed with your fingers. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to a greased bowl. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, or until nearly doubled in size.** (If your kitchen is less than 70°F, place the dough in the oven with just the light on for about 45 minutes instead.)
Cut out the sufganiyot:
Transfer the proofed dough to a lightly floured surface. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll dough to a ½-inch thickness. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut out donut circles. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or until they begin to get puffy. (If your kitchen is less than 70°F, place the cookie sheet in an oven with the light instead.)
Fry the sufganiyot:
Place the neutral oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot; heat on medium-high to 370°F. Once the oil is hot, working in batches of 4, carefully drop the donut circles in the oil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Carefully remove from the hot oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up any excess oil.
Finish the sufganiyot & serve your dish:
Place the powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl and set aside. When cool enough to handle, transfer the fried donuts to the bowl of powdered sugar and toss to coat. Using a knife, make a small hole in the side of each sugared donut. Using a spoon or piping bag, fill each donut with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of jam. Transfer to a serving platter. Enjoy!
*Get creative with the fillings: If jam is not your preference, try filing the donuts with nutella, lemon curd, apple butter, or salted caramel.**Make Ahead Tip: You can make the dough for this recipe ahead of time. Instead of letting the dough stand at room temperature for 1 hour to proof, cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to stand overnight.