a homemade Chanukah donut
A freshly fried homemade donut

Here is a wonderful Sephardic Chanukah treat I discovered last year. These really aren't so much donuts as sweet fried pillows of dough. They're so much easier than the traditional donut recipes where you have to roll out and shape the dough (and fill or ice the donuts, if you’re ambitious). This recipe takes just a few minutes of prep, plus I think it’s a lot tastier!

I served these at tonight's Chanukah get-together, intending it mostly for the kids (the adults had pecan pie) but we adults enjoyed it plenty. The platter was licked clean!

Sephardic Chanukah Donuts
You'll want to be sure to serve these fresh, within a few minutes of frying. 

2 teaspoons of dry yeast
1 cup water
1 t sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
2 cups flour
2 cups oil

First, make the dough: Combine the yeast, water, sugar and salt. Let stand for 5-10 minutes. Add the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon or in a stand mixer. Let rise for two hours.

While the dough rises, make a topping. Here are a few choices; choose ONE.
  • Make a simple dessert syrup by combining 3 cups sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice in a saucepan. Put in a little lemon zest or rose water if you like. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes, till thick.
  • Another good option (this is our favorite) is a simple cinnamon-sugar mix. I use 1 tablespoon sugar for a ½ cup sugar, but you might like yours more or less cinnamon-y.  I make a bowl of it and put it in the center of the table for dipping.
  • Sprinkle the donuts with confectioner’s sugar.
Next, deep fry the donuts: Heat the oil to about 350 degrees. (You can drop a bit of the dough in to test it. It should puff up and sizzle.) Drop the dough into the hot oil 1 teaspoon at a time and fry till golden, flipping halfway through. You’ll probably need about a minute per side, but it depends on the exact temperature of the oil, so watch the puffs carefully.

Drain on paper towels and serve warm. Right before serving, sprinkle the donuts with dessert syrup, confectioner’s sugar, or cinnamon-sugar mix.

See my post on Yeast Spotting.