Sufganiyot are a traditional Hanukkah food because they are fried in oil which makes us remember that that oil in the temple lasted for 8 days. And because they are delicious. Typically, they are filled with some sort of red jelly, but I decided to go wild and try something very different (and more in keeping with my non-traditional Jewishness).
I made two types of filling for the doughnuts: passionfruit curd (which I made myself) and mixed berry jam (which I bought from Sarabeth’s). Doughnuts and I have had a troubled history. I tend to either 1. burn them or 2. undercook them or 3. All of the above. Hot oil is a tricky substance. However, I had never actually done a yeasted doughnut!
I decided to take inspiration from a bomboloni (Italian doughnut) dough which uses orange zest for flavoring, but I substituted lemon zest. I can honestly tell you, these doughnuts are amazingly delicious and so light. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so pleased with myself as when I bit down on the freshly fried + sugared doughnut and thought, “Wow, this is even better than I thought it would be.” Doesn’t happen in the kitchen as often as I would like.
These doughnuts take a long time because of all the proofing, but they aren’t actually that difficult. Having an accurate thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil is key. And if you need somewhere warm to proof your dough, you can run the shower in your bathroom until it gets steamy and leave the dough in there with the door shut.
Sufganiyot (Filled Doughnuts) with Passionfruit Curd
Note: If you want to use jam as well as curd, just pipe it into half of the doughnuts.
Yield: About 25 doughnuts
Passionfruit Curd (Adapted from The Modern Cafe)
5.5 oz passion fruit purée
.5 oz lemon juice
7 oz granulated sugar
7.5 oz egg yolks
9.25 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Combine the passion fruit purée and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl. Pour about one-third of the hot purée into the yolks, whisking constantly. Add the remaining hot purée. Place the mixture in a bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water. Cook the curd, whisking constantly, until thickened and the temperature is about 180 F.
- Remove from the hot water bath and whisk for a minute to cool it down. Strain the curd through a fine-mesh strainer.
- Using a Vitamix or an immersion blender, blend on low speed for a few seconds, then add the butter 2 to 3 pieces at a time, blending until incorporated. Let the curd cool to room temperature. Refrigerate.
Doughnuts (Adapted from The Baking Fairy)
3 cups bread flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
10.5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp dry instant yeast
2 tsp salt
4 whole large eggs
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup lukewarm water
zest of 1 lemon
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
granulated sugar, for coating
- First, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water, and allow it to sit until it blooms.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients except for one of the whole eggs, and beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, then high speed for 5 more minutes.
- Add in the remaining egg, and beat on medium speed until a smooth and elastic dough forms.
- Knead by hand for a couple of minutes, then place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours until tripled in size.
- After the first rise, lightly knead the dough, roll it out to 0.5 inch thickness, and cut out rounds.
- Transfer all your rounds to baking sheets lined with baking paper, spray lightly with water, and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Allow the doughnuts to rise another hour and a half until they triple in size once more.
- When ready to fry, heat vegetable oil in a large, deep pan to a temperature between 340- 350 F.
- Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, making sure to not crowd the pan. Fry them for about 3 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown, then drain off the excess oil, and set them on a wire rack to cool. Check oil temperature periodically to make sure it is staying consistent.
- While they are still warm, pour some granulated sugar in a small bowl, and roll the bomboloni around until completely coated in the sugar.
When doughnuts are cool, insert a small paring knife into the center of the doughnut, making sure not to go through. Fill piping bag fitted with a small round tip with passionfruit curd (or jam). Insert tip into doughnut and squeeze, filling until you can see the filling oozing out slightly. Continue with all doughnuts.