Sunday, November 11, 2007

early bird gets the doughnut

as i walk through malls only but a few days after hallowe'en, i am already being assaulted by jingle bells and flashing lights, some of them bright and fast enough to put me into a seizure. every year, it seems, the grace period between holidays is becoming shorter and shorter. sheesh, it just became november and already we've had a santa claus parade in my city! whoa, nelly.

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.



Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh my God, they look gorgeous!!! I love doughnuts and with that filling, they must taste heavenly!

I am fed up of having to go through all that commercial Christmas "propaganda" which already starts in September! It's ever so gross...



burekaboy — said...

rosa - :)) thanks. i could eat a dozen and then a dozen more -- thankfully i have self-control. the best ones are filled with chocolate ganache or coffee flavoured creme patissiere!

wow, september is waaaayy too early! i thought november was bad, LOL. i can take 2 or 3 weeks but not SIX TO EIGHT!! propoganda, it is, whatever the holiday. at least, these days it is, in terms of commercialism.

Lilandra said...

yum yum yum

you *almost* inspire me to try to make those

i hate frying tho...or...manning a stove while frying

TopChamp said...

wow - doughnuts have always been a mysterious thing to me. I never even considered how you make them or how you get the jam in.........

I did my first xmas gig this year on the 4th OCTOBER!

Vidya said...

Another recipe I can make...not sure when I'll find the time though. My folder with printouts of your recipes is growing, thanks!

burekaboy — said...

lilandra - hey there :) i can't stand the smell of oil frying either. definitely yuck. i guess the results make up for the unpleasant lingering oil odour.

TC - hehe, i also used to wonder how they did that! mine are 'messy' compared to the ones that are injected with the filling.

jingle bells in the beginning of october?!! that's just not normal! :o

vidya - these are definitely worth a try; i'm sure you can come up with some interesting filling, too. hopefully, one of these days, you will free up some time to test out one or two things. until that time .... happy diwali :)

Lakshmi said...

You leave me drooling over all the dishes whenever I visit your blog. There isnt any time that I have missed drooling :D . Tried the naan recipe from your blog.It turned out excellent, we enjoyed it.

sari said...

hola burekaboy
nunca he hecho donuts o sufganiot.seguro que los tuyos están buenísimos pero ¿qué tal si añado un huevo en vez de esa pasta de semillas?.ya no me importa el colesterol, los quiero repletos de aceite y azúcar!otra cosa: la parte de freir ¿es similar a freir buñuelos? gracias chaval!

burekaboy — said...

hi lakshmi - LOL, i am glad to hear that i can get you to drool with what i've posted! :)

thanks for letting me know how the naan turned out. it's a very good recipe (one of the better ones of the many i've tried, at least). i'm sure it would turn out best made in a tandoor like the pics in the link in the posting.

hope you're well ;) thanks for the comment and visit.

hola sari - son muy muy facil a hacer. yup, es la misma cosa -- como hacemos (freir) los buñuelos/bimuelos. cierto que puedes añadir un huevo (grande) en vez de las semillas. yo voy a preparar otras recetas para januca -- espere otra semana. tengo otras que son mejores utilisando huevos, etc. y no que esta receta no es buena asi como es!! ;)) LOL.

Arabic Bites said...

Mmmmmmm..... doughnuts! pass the Coffee.
I can't wait to try this recipe, they look great.
Thanks for sharing it.

burekaboy — said...

hi zainab :) - thanks. in another week [or week and a half], i will put other recipes for this same thing which include eggs. we eat a lot of things which are fried in oil for the upcoming holiday of hanukkah. thanks for the comment ;)

Idit said...

These are great. I just made them. very easy to make and the frying part took no longer than 10 minutes. I used a half of a mashed banana instead of the flax seed due to allergies and I had to increase the amount of flour. They taste heavenly!! My daughter would love them. :-)

burekaboy — said...

hi idit - thanks for letting me know how they turned out. very happy to hear that they worked using the banana replacement instead of the flaxseed.

hanukkah is just around the corner now -- i'm sure you'll have plenty of sufganyiot making that EVERYONE can enjoy (safely!).

Will said...

Do you think it would work with ener-g egg replacer (which is potato starch / tapioca flour based, and, IIRC, kosher / pareve)?

I'm excited to try this; I was going to try and veganize the Chowhound recipe, but I think I'll just base my recipe on yours.

Will said...

ps - Maybe I'm missing something, but do you say in the recipe where the yeast is added? I'm assuming you mix it with the warm water and let it sit 5 or 10 minutes before adding the other wet ingredients?

burekaboy — said...

hi will - yes, you can use the ener-g brand egg replacer or use 1/2 a banana, well-mashed, as Idit (a blog reader who just tested out the recipe) did with perfect results.

like a nudnik, i forgot to add the part about the yeast! so many thanks for pointing that out to me. you add it to the flour mixture as it is the rapid rise/instant blending type. i have amended the recipe to include it. no need to proof that kind but you can use the regular type too however that has to be proved first (see recipe for directions).

this really is a worthwhile recipe which results in great soufganiyot. hope you enjoy it. i'd be interested in hearing how yours turn out and how your version goes.

thanks for the comment and visit. happy holidays.

Maya said...

THANK YOU! I am hosting a Chanukah party Saturday evening and we have a guest who cannot even touch an item with egg in it because she had a major allergic reaction. I've been looking for an eggless recipe for soufganiyot and here it is! It looks AWESOME. She is going to CRY from happiness! I've just printed out your recipe and I can't wait to make it for her. Thank you so much. The pictures you took are awesome too.

Happy Chanukah!

burekaboy — said...

hi maya - glad you found something (finally!) you can use. they are really good for a non-egg version. even people who don't have any issues with eggs like them ;) if you get the chance, let me know how they turn out.

happy hanukkah and have fun at your party :)

Will said...

Thanks for the comments.

I measured the temperature in the wok; maybe I didn't wait long enough, but it seemed like 350 F or so. Next time, I'll bring it up to temperature slower. I did reduce the heat significantly after my test doughnut came out super burned, but I guess it takes a long time for oil to lose its heat once it's that hot.

I'm definitely making them again; this was a test run for a party I'm having tomorrow.

Is there a good source for vegan lemon curd, or do you just use regular lemon curd?

Also, anything to worry about when tripling or quadrupling the recipe?

burekaboy — said...

will - hey there. i think deep frying in a wok is a bit different from doing it in a regular (north american) pot as a wok is usually much thinner walled and has a different shape, therefore heating much faster and more efficiently.

try heating your oil at medium or even medium low heat and leave it go for about 12-15 minutes (depends how much oil you're using, too). don't even use a whole donut to test but take a small leftover piece of dough to test. drop it in. if it rises and bubbles right away, it's probably the right temp. if your heat is too high, the outside will burn and the inside will not cook properly. cook about 4 sufganiyot at a time, maybe even 5, depending on the size of your wok. this will lower the temp of the oil but it will rise again as they cook. if your donuts are cooking too fast, place the wok on another burner which is (obviously) turned off and let the heat lower a bit. it does take time for the heat to reduce with oil. it also takes practice. now that you've had a test run you can perfect it. just remove them when they're a golden brown.

also, you may have to take the wok off the direct heat and let it cool a few minutes between batches. deep frying is tricky business. i usually work by the timing method; if it cooks too quickly for the called for amount of time, the heat is too high.

as for lemon curd, try this. i've not tried it yet so you may want to make it tonight to test it out. due to the fact that it does not have eggs or butter in it, it will be different from the standard kind. i used regular lemon curd for mine.

NON EGG (vegan) version:


1/4 c (cold) water
1/2 c sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 c lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
pinch of salt


in a bowl whisk together the water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until cornstarch dissolves.

transfer everything to a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium high heat.

stir constantly and when mixture thickens, reduce the heat to low. cook it for another minute and keep stirring constantly.

now pour mixture into a bowl and add lemon juice and zest. mix well.

let cool and thicken at room temperature.

this version is best served at room temperature. it can be refrigerated, covered, for several days but before serving, beat it again thoroughly with a whisk.

makes approx. 1 cup.

hope that helps. good luck with the party and sufganiyot making.

oh yeah, what did you use to replace the egg? that may be important in increasing the recipe. if you're making quadruple amounts, make 2 double recipes just to be on the safe side. i can't guarantee anything since i haven't done it.

email me or leave a comment if you need other info/help. happy hanukkah!