Sufganiyot by Tina Lloyd


Tina Lloyd is a 2010 JWRP alumna from Ottawa, Ontario. 

There's always a story or romance of good recipes, right? So I'm starting with that and the recipe is further down.

I really wanted to do something with donuts this year; I'm donut obsessed. I was in Israel a couple of years ago, just before Hanukkah, and had some of the most amazing (complicated, elegant) sufganiyot you could imagine. Realizing that I wouldn't be able to buy these delicious treats on every street corner, I came back determined to learn to make donuts myself.

Jews celebrate Hanukkah with a variety of fried foods. Around here, we joke that it's the festival of fried foods and it really is. All to celebrate the miracle that G-d gave the Jews when after retaking their temple, G-d made 1 day worth of oil last 8 days. So for 8 days, we celebrate with candles and with prayer, with feasting and presents, and the dreidel game, and with a variety of fried foods and sweet treats.

In my social circle, the men make the latkes which are fried potato pancakes. They haul out the barbeque aprons and stand at the stove frying up huge batches of latkes, competing with each other, each convinced his own old family recipe is the best one. Everyone burns their mouths, taste testing the offerings, dipping them in sour cream or applesauce. We drink wine and laugh and talk while we're making them and for dessert we serve donuts, called sufganiyot, (pronounced SOOF-gan-ee-yot). Most North Americans buy the donuts, but traditionalists really make them from scratch.

And we say a prayer,the littlest kids light the candles, we play the dreidel game, sing some songs and eat those chocolate coins. And do it all again for 8 nights. Too. Much. Fried. Food. Oh, did I mention the presents and the company? It really is fun.

So this year, I’ve taken a stab at making the sufganiyot from scratch.

There was an initial disaster with the first recipe, which I thought might be too easy to be true. And yeah it kind of was. I won't go into in much detail, except to say that the donuts that were cooked all the way through and not burned (about half of them) were tasty but ugly, random scraggly pieces of dough dropped into oil. Most of them looked like chicken fingers and there was no way the jam filling was going into them. Time to try something new.

I sent out a call for a better recipe (something tried and true that a neophyte could make) and a friend recommended this one below, which I think were yummy and fairly pretty too.


  • 1 tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk or warm water*
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, separated ( you use the yolks in the batter and the white later on as glue to seal tops to bottoms, so don't throw them out)
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter or pareve margarine, softened*
  • Apricot or strawberry preserves
  • Sugar
  • Vegetable oil for deep-frying

*Use butter and milk if serving at a milk meal, and water and pareve margarine for a meat meal. 


  1. Mix together the yeast, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and the milk. Let sit to make sure it bubbles.Be patient.Yeast isn't hard but you do need to wait for it to work.
  2. Sift the flour and mix it with the remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon, egg yolks, and the yeast mixture.
  3. Knead the dough until it forms a ball. Add the butter or margarine. Knead some more, until the butter is well absorbed. Cover with a towel and let rise overnight in the refrigerator.(I'm never that patient or that prepared, so I covered mine and let it rise in a warm place for 90 minutes and it worked great)
  4. Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. (I'm sure mine were at least 1/8 inch thick and I got more donuts than the recipe said I would. Maybe 20 instead of 12.)
  5. Cut out the dough into 24 rounds with a juice glass, or any object about 2 inches in diameter. Take 1/2 teaspoon of preserves and place in centre of 12 rounds. Top with the other 12. Press down at edges, sealing with egg whites. (The best way to do this is to put the egg white on the top round and press it down on the jam one. Crimping with the thumb and second finger is best. Let rise for about 30 minutes.
  6. Heat 2 inches of oil to about 375° in a medium sized pot. (I didn't use a thermometer, just set it on medium high and played with it a little.) Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil, about 3 or 4 at a time. Turn to brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  7. Roll the doughnuts in sugar.Or powdered sugar. Or sugar and cinnamon.

I'm told that you can roll the pastry thicker and just use one layer, fry them up and insert the filling later. You can use a turkey baster to do this. And then you can fill with other things, I want to try a chocolate ganache at some point and I think I'd need to fry them first.

I'm also told you can bake them.  

And you could also leave them unfilled and have little bowls of jam or chocolate to dip them in. That’s what we did; that’s what I'm doing today.

The traditional sufganiyot are fried with jam and rolled in sugar. But you're going to love them however you make them!

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