Talia’s Sufganiyot for Junior Cooks

by Sybil Kaplan November 28, 2018


istock-868049296One of the things I have enjoyed the most as a food writer is learning the food customs of Jews from around the world. When it comes to doughnuts, all of the communities make a dough dessert fried in oil. If you, too, want to celebrate Hanukkah with food, try some of these interesting doughnuts.

Dov Noy (z”l), renowned Israel folklorist and ethnologist, relates a Bukhharian fable, which says the first sufganiya was a sweet given to Adam and Eve as compensation after their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. He says the word sufganiya comes from the Hebrew word, sof (meaning end), gan (meaning garden) and Ya (meaning G-d). Thus the word means, the end of G-d’s garden.

According to Noy, this fable was created at the beginning of the 20th century, since sufganiya was a new Hebrew word coined by pioneers.

Some say sufganiyot, which means sponge-like, are reminiscent of the sweet, spongy cookie popular along the Mediterranean since the time of the Maccabees. Hebrew dictionaries say the word actually comes from the Greek word, sufgan, meaning puffed and fried.

These are the traditional Israeli doughnuts which can be filled or left plain. Talia was 5 ½ years old when she gave me this recipe. Today she is grown, a mother of four, a tour guide married to a photographer and living in the scene of the Hanukkah story, Modiin.

3 ½ cups flour

1 ½ cups plain yogurt

2 eggs

2 T. sugar

Pinch salt

½ tsp. vanilla oil

1. In a mixing bowl, supervised by an adult, combine flour, yogurt, sugar and salt.

Add eggs and vanilla and blend.

2. Heat oil in a deep pot (with an adult’s help). Drop dough by tablespoon into oil. Fry until brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.

When cool to the touch, fill, using a tube or a large syringe, with your favorite jelly.

Roll in confectioners’ sugar.


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