The dough for these is the same dough I use for my yeast cakes, I let it rise at room temperature and them refrigerated it till the evening.
They can be filled with traditional strawberry jam filling or various other fillings such as Dulce De Leche, vanilla pastry cream (which you can add flavors to, such as: orange zest or Halva paste, etc…)
I always have jams in my fridge and dark chocolate Ganach cream in the freezer so assembling the Sufganiot was easy.
25 grams fresh yeast (or 15 grams active dried yeast, but I prefer fresh)
150 grams lukewarm milk or water (if you want it to be dairy-free)
500 grams (1.1 lbs) sifted flour
100 grams (3.5 oz) sugar
100 grams butter (3.5 oz), at room temperature
1 Tbsp Brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
Lemon and orange zest, grated from one lemon and half an orange
1/2 tsp (5 grams) salt
In a mixer bowl, whisk the fresh yeast with 1 Tbsp sugar and the lukewarm milk or water. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the salt. Incorporate the ingredients with your hands at first, to make sure all the liquid is absorbed in the flour and then – using the dough hook – incorporate all ingredients and then add the salt.
Beat on low speed for 5-7 minutes.
If you don’t have a mixer that can do all the kneading for you – you’ll get the chance to work out for the next 5-7 minutes.
Cover with a kitchen towel or cling film and leave in a warm place (allow the dough to rise and double its size).
Punch the dough to release the air, place it in a larger bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
The next day:
For traditional Hannukah sufganiot:
I recommend the mini size version of these donuts instead of the regular size which, in my opinion, are too big.
You will need a kitchen scale for this: Form little balls weighing about 30 grams /1 ounce (the size of a ping pong ball).
If you want to make life easier and not risk the donuts when you transfer them to the oil, you may want to use this method:
cut parchment papers into smaller rectangles – the size that will contain only two such dough balls, 5 cm apart from each other. Place those parchment paper rectangles on a large baking tray, Spray them with and let them rise until doubled in volume.
Some recommend spraying the donuts with oil and covering them with cling film but I don’t do that since the cling film can stick to the dough and ruin the donuts.
If the weather is too cold in your area and you want to speed up the process –preheat your oven to 50 degrees C/around 100 F, turn it off and place the donuts inside the oven. Just make sure you check them after 10-15 minutes and then every 5 minutes. This can take 30-40 minutes.
For American Donuts:
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to a thickness of 1 cm (1/2 inch).
Cut the dough into about 2 1/2 inch (6-7 cm) circles, using a lightly floured cookie cutter or a drinking glass and then cut out the center “hole” with a smaller cookie cutter .
Place the doughnuts on a parchment paper, sprayed with oil and if you want – you can use the same method I used for the traditional Sufganiot (cut parchment papers into smaller rectangles – the size that will hold only one donut).
You can keep the donut holes and fry them separately, like I did, and then toss them in sugar and cinnamon.
Let the donuts rise in a warm place until they almost double in size .
Heat about 4 inches sunflower oil for deep frying in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat to a temperature of 160 degrees C/320 F (It is best to use a candy thermometer).
Maintaining this temperature during the entire frying process is crucial and that’s why you cannot fry too many donuts at a time. Do not overcrowd the saucepan or else – the oil temperature will go down and the dough will soak too much oil.
Conversely, if the oil is too hot the donut will become too brown and crisp on the outside before the inside has time to be cooked through. If you use a thermometer you can monitor the temperature of the oil and adjusting the heat as necessary.
Take one of the small rectangular parchment papers that you cut in advance and is now holding two sufganiot or one donut, place the sheet of paper with the donuts over the oil and carefully flip them upside down so that their upper part will be the one that gets to fry first. If the donuts don’t fall into the oil, gently dip them in it for a second – but be careful not to burn your fingers.
Fry the donuts for 30-45 seconds on each side (for the small doughnuts) until they reach a golden brown color. It is important to keep on medium heat so you don’t burn them.
Gently take them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
For the filling:
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip and pipe about 2 teaspoons of filling into each doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
The traditional filling is strawberry jam but over the years, Israeli bakeries have added so many creative fillings and toppings: flavored pastry creams: vanilla, Halva, nougat/nutella, coconut etc…, dark and white chocolate ganach with different flavors, lemon curd etc…
A recipe for my pastry cream can be found here (and you can flavor it however you feel like):