This article was originally published in the December 2023/January 2024 issue of eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI.
A cross between a beignet and a jelly donut, sufganiyot are pillowy donuts eaten around the world during Hanukkah, when foods fried in oil symbolize the miracle of oil that burned for eight days instead of one in the Hanukkah story. Sufganiyot are traditionally filled with jelly or jam, but if your crew doesn’t care for jelly in their donuts, the filling options are limitless: vanilla custard, Nutella, pudding, pumpkin butter, apple butter, or dulce de leche are all great options. Sufganiyot are also delicious plain.
1 cup warm water, heated to about 110°F
1 Tablespoon instant/rapid-rise or active dry yeast (note that this is more than 1 packet)
3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, plus about 2 quarts more for frying
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
About 1 cup jam or jelly, optional
Combine the warm water and yeast in a small bowl and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine and set aside.
Add the egg yolks, 2 Tablespoons of oil, and vanilla to the water/yeast mixture and whisk with a fork until combined.
Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir with rubber spatula until the dough comes together. It should be a bit sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise on the countertop until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
Generously dust a clean countertop and your hands with flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and dust with flour. Pat the dough into ¼” thick rectangle (about 10” x 12”), making sure the bottom doesn’t stick and adding more flour to the counter and your hands as needed. Using a pizza cutter or very sharp knife, cut the dough into 24 two-inch squares and transfer to a floured baking sheet, leaving a little space between the squares. Sprinkle the squares lightly with flour.
Fry the dough squares in hot oil (350°F) for about 3 minutes until golden brown, flipping halfway through frying. Drain the donuts on paper towels.
Use a paring knife to puncture the side of each donut to form a pocket in the center. Place the tip of a squeeze bottle or piping bag into the pocket and squeeze 1 to 2 teaspoons of jam or jelly inside.
Dust the donuts generously with confectioners’ sugar.
Make-Ahead Instructions: The dough can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated. Let it sit out at room temperature for about an hour before rolling out and cutting.