Friday, December 23, 2011
The Best Sufganiot (Jelly Doughnut) Ever!
Ya, ya I know, that batch of dough you make, is your moms recipe, your grandmothers recipe, your great grandmothers recipe, it's the best. Whatever. If you don't try this recipe for sufganiot, then you won't know what an honestly delicious and amazing experience it is to eat the perfect jelly doughnut.
It's Chanukah, and the first thing I think about when I think of Chanukah is....if you guessed presents, you're wrong. It's doughnuts. It's the one time of year I can shove my face with doughnuts and just say that I am being a good Jew and celebrating my holiday the right way! I make them every year. But not this year. This year my husband Yossi came home with super excitement that he was going to make doughnuts. When it comes to anything with yeast dough, my husband is the pro. He used to have a successful pizzeria in Israel. He, of course makes the best pizzas but that's for another post.
OK so what's so special about this recipe. Well for one thing, but I think this is pretty common is that it contains the zest of a lemon. I've heard people also do orange zest which sounds even better to me. Although I have heard these additions before I have never actually tasted a doughnut with citrus zest. The second thing is that it uses fresh yeast instead of dry yeast which is what I usually make my doughnuts with. Well, it turns out our grandmothers were right. Fresh yeast is better. The third addition which is my favorite, is that it has a little liquor in it, cognac to be exact but you can use brandy or another such liquor because it's not so much the flavor that is what's needed, it's the action that it does. It supposedly reduces the amount of oil that the dough will absorb when fried. What more could a girl ask for?! Lastly, it's dairy, with milk and butter, and EVERYONE knows any dessert is better when it's dairy. So here is the recipe. It has to be followed EXACTLY. Everything from the order of the ingredients to the measurements to the steps. Everything has to be done. And the result? A crisp outside with a fluffy sweet inside that has a slight zing from the lemon. These are light and airy and delicious. And yes it actually tasted less oily than other jelly doughnuts I have tried!
These are the best doughnuts I have ever tried. Period.
Have a happy, delicious and skinny Chanukah!
The Best Sufganiot Ever!
Makes 15 large or 35 medium to small doughnuts ( we made half large, half small)
1 1/2 sticks of fresh yeast (the 57g size sticks by Fleishman's)
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
7 cups plus 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg whites
2 tbsp. cognac or other liquor (optional)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 stick or 13 tbsp. butter at room temperature
Vegetable oil for frying
Filling: Jam, chocolate, whatever you prefer.
Powdered sugar for dusting.
In a medium bowl, crumble the yeast and pour in a 1/2 cup of the warm milk. Mix it until the yeast has dissolved and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, place the flour, sugar, egg whites, cognac, lemon zest, vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Pour in the yeast mixture last. Turn on the mixer to low speed for 1 minute. Melt the butter and pour it in to the mixer. Raise the speed to med-high until the dough forms and pulls away from the sides. Turn off the mixer. Cover the bowl with a towel and place in a warm spot for 1- 1/2 hours until it has risen and doubled in volume.
When the dough has risen, transfer it to a generously floured surface and divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Gently with VERY LIGHT PRESSURE, roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 2-3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles and very gently place them aside, careful not to break their rise. Cover all the circles with a towel for another 1 hour to rise.
Heat oil in a deep skillet or sauce pan on medium heat. Test a small piece of dough by placing it in the oil. If the dough does not rise to the top and bubble immediately, the oil is not hot enough. If you have a thermometer, it should read about 320 -340 degrees. Gently place the doughnuts in the oil and fry for 2 minutes per side or until a deep golden color. Transfer to a platter lined with paper towels.
Place your filling in a piping bag and, either through the side or top, inject enough filling until you feel the bag being pushed back. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!