Latkes get all the glory around Hanukkah, but it’s time they started sharing the spotlight. Tender, sweet sufganiyot—jelly doughnuts—get our vote for the most coveted Hanukkah treat. Like latkes, sufganiyot are fried. It’s customary to eat fried foods during the Jewish Festival of Lights to recognize the miracle that the holiday commemorates: a small jug of oil kept the menorah in the Jewish temple lit for eight days, instead of just one.
Sufganiyot first became a Hanukkah-time staple in Israel, but they’ve made their way around the world. Traditional sufganiyot look—and taste—like a typical powdered and jam-filled doughnut. However, pastry chefs and bakers like to experiment with them, including British-Israeli phenom Yotam Ottolenghi.
Ottolenghi and Helen Goh include a recipe for saffron custard-cream doughnuts in their cookbook Sweet. These are based on a classic sufganiyah recipe. Ottolenghi has a
critical tip for those looking to make sufganiyot—or any deep-fried treat—at home.
It’s essential, he says, to bring your oil to the correct temperature. It’s best to use a thermometer for this. Make sure your oil’s a little bit hotter than required because as soon as you add your dough, it’ll cool down. If it’s not hot enough, your pastries will be imbued with oil, instead of fluffy on the inside with a crisp and golden brown exterior.
And don’t be alarmed if you have some extra dough on hand once you’re done forming your doughnuts. The Chatelaine Kitchen uses those scraps to make doughnut holes (AKA homemade Timbits) and then rolls them through some cinnamon and sugar once they’re out of the fryers.
But first master
the perfect sufganiyot with this triple-tested recipe from our kitchen—a sure way to be the best host this Hanukkah.
- 8 g active dry yeast, (2 tsp)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
For the filling
- 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 2 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
- Combine yeast, 1 tsp sugar and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer, stirring to combine. Let stand until bubbly, 10 min. Beat in eggs, salt and remaining sugar with dough hook on medium for 1 min. Add flour and beat dough until smooth, 5 min. Add butter and mix for 3 min.
- Form into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hr.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and lightly spray with oil. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and pat out until dough is 3/4 in. thick. Cut out rounds with a 3-in. cutter, placing onto prepared sheets 2 in. apart. Gather scraps and pat out once, letting dough rest 5 min before cutting. Cover sheets with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm area until doubled again, about 30 min.
- Clip a deep-fry thermometer to the side of a large pot. Heat 1 1/2 in. of oil over medium to 350F. Fry doughnuts, 2 or 3 at a time, flipping halfway, until golden and puffed, 2 min. Drain and cool on a rack.
- Fit a piping bag with a small plain tip and fill with jam. Poke a hole into the side of each doughnut with the handle of a wooden spoon, creating a small space in the centre. Insert the piping tip and fill each doughnut with about 1 tbsp jam. Return doughnuts to rack. Place icing sugar in a fine sieve and gently sift over doughnuts.
Originally published December 2017; Updated December 2021.
Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh talk about their cookbook Sweet