not to be grinch-like and unfestive (or outdone!), i figure i'd better get a head start as i've been terribly busy with work, and life in general, and not had much time at all for the blogosphere and getting my posting done.
while one festival of lights is already taking place, the hindu celebration of the triumph of good over evil, called diwali, another is just around the corner. hanukkah, this year, is very early, commencing on the 4th of december. that means only a few weeks before lighting candles, stuffing our faces with deep fried "cochoneries" (local french here for disgustingly good things) and gift giving.
last year, i went a little crazy with latkes and ignored the other deep fried thing we eat typically, deep fried jelly doughnuts called sufganiyot — and not for a lack of want but rather for not having had enough time. well, i guess this year i shall (hopefully) make up for it.
coming from the hebrew word for sponge, ספוג, (s'fog), soufganiyot are far from being only a jewish thing. they are called different things by different countries — berliners (germany), ponchiki (russian), pampooshky (ukranian), beignets (french), jelly donuts (states & canada), etc., etc. they are also know as paczki in polish and have a very long history. our soufganiyot are probably adopted from these, no doubt, since jews have had a long history in that country (pre holocaust). they are also pronounced similarly in yiddish, פּאנטשקעס .... punchkiss or punch-kees which i have always found to be a thoroughly amusing word!
in any case, these doughnuts are consumed in major amounts and have come a long way from only being filled with the regular red jelly of years gone by. all kinds of amazing fillings and glazes and adornments now exist and new ones are being 'invented' yearly. check out the picture and write up here.
almost all sufganiyot recipes are made with eggs. without them, you basically end up with a deep fried bread and not necessarily a soft pastry, the way they should be. with the many allergies, health problems and people opting for vegan diets, many people are out of luck. people who are on gluten free diets are even worse off as the building block for these is wheat flour, a definite no-no (but check gluten free by the bay for one; i know she has one!).
after some fooling around two years ago, when i had to concoct something for people who could not eat eggs, i came up with this version which is just as good as the regular one. really. it contains no eggs or dairy products (not that all sufganiyot recipes have dairy in them...). they result in spongy soft pastries which can be filled with any kind of filling. the only drawback, if you can call it that, is that they need to be eaten within an hour or two of being made for maximum texture and flavour.
often, people fill the sufganiyot with an injection type implement. there isn't a need for it, in my opinion. i just made a slit big enough for a slim spoon (i use a grapefruit spoon) to enter and fill them that way. the slit in its side isn't totally unattractive, either (see picture below). but it you must have it without any telltale signs of filling, then you'll have to hunt down one of those injection tools at a kitchenware shop.
sufganiyot — the vegan way
no egg, no dairy and just as good!
if you're thinking these are going to taste "healthy" or awful, you're in for a BIG surprise. no one has ever turned them down and they always disappear. soft and oozing with a luscious filling of your choice, the only signs you'll have left that these ever existed are the powdered sugar remnants on your shoes and your mouth! the only drawback is that they're deep fried but, hey, it's only once a year and ooooh so good!!
makes about (10) 3 1/2 - 4 inch sufganiyot
1 1/2 c all purpose flour or wholewheat pastry flour, or more as needed
2 1/2 tbsp sugar or sucanat
1 pkg (8 gr) rapid rise yeast
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp lecithin granules (optional)
1 tbsp melted margarine or vegetable oil
1/2 c water, warm
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp flax meal, heaped*
3 tbsp warm water
icing sugar or regular sugar for rolling the sufganiyot
fillings of your choice - jams, jellies, pudding fillings, etc.
*if you cannot use flaxseed replacement, use 1/2 a well-mashed banana instead. you may have to increase the amount of flour slightly. similarly, you can substitute the equivalent of 1 whole egg with ener-g brand egg replacer.
this can be done by hand or in a food processor. i make it either way .... both work.
combine, in a food processor or large bowl, the flour, sugar, salt, instant yeast and lecithin. lecithin is a kind of analog to egg (yolks) and comes in small granular bits; while it is optional, i like to use it. if you can't get it or find it, skip it. instant yeast can be combined with the flour as done here and does not need to be proved.
if you can't use or get hold of instant, prove the same amount of regular yeast in half of the warm water called for in the recipe (1/4 c of it) and add it the same time you add the water.
in a small dish, combine the flax meal with the water and let it sit for 10 minutes. see this post for further information. if you like, you can strain the mixture first to remove the brown bits (seed coat) with a fine sieve. otherwise, you can leave it as is as i have done here.
when the flax is ready, melt the margarine or mix the oil with the water and vanilla in another bowl or measuring cup. combine the two together and mix well.
with the motor running, add the liquid to the dry mixture.
with pulses, combine the liquid with the wet ingredients. once it forms a slightly tacky ball of dough, it is ready. you may need a little extra flour (will depend on where you live as not all flours are the same).
place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise for a good hour or so in a warm spot. it needs to double.
take the proved dough and place it on a clean, flat surface. spread it out with your fingers.
using a rolling pin, spread out the dough into a rough rectangle or square which is about a 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick.
using a cutter of your choice, cut out circles of dough.
gather the scraps and re-roll them. you may need to wait a bit between re-rollings for the gluten in the dough to relax again.
place a tea towel over the dough rounds and let them sit for a good 20 minutes or so to reprove.
after about 10 minutes of waiting, fill a pan with enough oil to deep fry (roughly 2 1/2 inches). i usually fry them about 350 F or a little higher.
take a sufganiyah and gently place it in the hot oil being very careful of your hands.
fry it on each side for about 2 to 3 minutes. if your oil is too hot, lower the temperature.
remove the doughnuts to absorbent paper and let them drain and cool down a bit (enough to handle).
to fill, make a small slit with a knife a little more than half way through.
take a spoonful of the filling you like (i use lemon curd often or other jellies and jams i have purchased. chocolate ganache is excellent, too, as a filling). do not overfill.
wipe off any filling on the outside of the doughnut.
roll the sufganiyot individually in icing sugar or in regular sugar.
eat while warm or at room temperature. they don't keep well the next day.