Hanukkah is a week-long fried food fest. All that oil and celebrating, you just have to go with it and wear elastic-waist pants. Or big fuzzy sweater dresses and tights, which has become my new uniform as holiday eating sets in.
Who could possibly resist sufganiyot (Hanukkah jelly doughnuts)? They might be worth the elastic waist. Puffy fried pastry filled with sweet jam and dusted with powdered sugar. Is it any wonder I got up an hour early yesterday morning to make them? I’m usually a breakfast-on-the run kind of girl. I sleep as late as possible, run out the door, and scarf down a yogurt at my desk. But I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed getting up early, watching the sun come up, frying doughnuts, and savoring the crisp hot pastry with a cup of tea.
These doughnuts are really best eaten warm, and frankly aren’t very good the next day. Traditional sufganiyot last a bit longer, but short cuts have their price, and the delicate store-bought puff pastry here doesn’t stand up well to the test of time. But it does enable sufganiyot in 30 minutes or less. No joke, bed to blissful doughnut in under half an hour. Store bought puff pastry is not just a time-saver, it also makes for light, airy, and flakey doughnuts. And good (I mean really good) jam adds just enough sweetness. Doughnuts are often too sweet, but puff pastry, which has no extra sugar, keeps these sufganiyot from being too cloying. And if you’re going for something a bit less traditional, you might try filling the doughnuts with Nutella instead of jam.
Quick Hanukkah Doughnuts
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
Flour for dusting
¼ cup jam
¼ cup confectioners sugar
Heat the oil for deep-frying in a heavy pan over medium heat until is registers at least 360 degrees on a candy or deep fry thermometer. If the oil is not hot enough the doughnuts will be oil-filled and soggy. Roll out the puff pastry on a floured surface to a 35 by 15 inch rectangle. Cut into four long strips. On two of the strips dollop spoonfuls of jam, leaving an inch between each. Top with the remaining dough strips and presto seal around each spoonful of jam. Use a round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut out the doughnuts. Fry the doughnuts in batches until browned on both sides. Drain on paper towels, cool slightly, and dust with powdered sugar.