What Hanukkah celebration would be complete without Sufganiyot, those fluffy yet buttery puffs of yeast-enriched dough, replete with a decadent dose of rich raspberry jam? Along with potato latkes, jam-filled doughnuts or as it is said in Hebrew Sufganiyah are the oil-fried stars of the Festival of Lights and are symbolic reminders of how, after the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BCE, the menorah burned for 8 consecutive nights despite there being only one vessel of sealed oil. Ever since Jewish families have celebrated this miracle through lighting the hanoukia (a special 8 branched menorah) and by serving delicious treats fried in oil. The jam-filled pastries are so popular that an estimated 25,000 are produced by Israel’s largest commercial bakery each day of the Hanukkah festival.
Over the years I have tried numerous recipes from Grandmothers’ traditional two-ply versions to more modern interpretations, but each year always gravitate towards my tried and true Martha Stewart variation which, despite a long proving period are the simplest and fluffiest. Being the creative type, I have also amused myself with variations on theme which have included gilding the tops with light flakes of edible gold dust to filling the centres with rich and plumy Fortnum and Mason Christmas preserves which are spiced with clove, orange, and nutmeg. I have also found over the years that these delectable morsels have found their way to many non-Jewish families’ tables prompting me to now believe they are the perfect addition to even the most traditional of Christmas festivities.
If you haven’t the time or the courage, a trip down to Schwartz Bakery is in order for a batch of traditional jam-filled doughnuts for the holidays. 433 N. Fairfax Avenue (between Oakwood & Rosewood Ave) +3236531683