Since these sufganiyot are quite rich, it is best to make somewhat smaller ones than the monster-size commercial kind. This recipe makes about 12 small ones.
3 cups flour
1 cup milk
25 gr. melted butter
zest of 1 lemon
3 tbsp. brandy
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tbsp. dry yeast
oil for deep frying
jelly for filling (or dulce de leche, Nutella spread, halvah spread, etc.)
In a large bowl combine the flour, milk, egg, melted butter, lemon zest, brandy, salt, sugar and dry yeast, forming a dough. If it is very sticky, add flour; if it's too dry, add some milk. Knead the dough vigorously for about 5 minutes, until it becomes elastic and smooth. Return it to the bowl, cover with a towel, and set aside to rise for 60-90 minutes. Press on the dough to get the air out, cover with the towel again and let rise for an hour.
On a floured surface roll out the dough to a thickness of 1.5 cm. (it is convenient and less messy to do this on baking paper). Use a juice glass or round cookie cutter to cut out circles measuring 7 cm. in diameter. Collect the leftover dough into a ball, and repeat the process until all of it is used up. Arrange the circles on a tray or plate, leaving space in between; cover with a towel and set aside for half an hour. The dough will not rise much, and that's fine. Most of the rising will take place in the oil.
Heat the oil to a low frying temperature, around 175 degrees Celsius. To test whether it is hot enough, throw a little piece of dough in. It should sink and after two or three seconds begin to bubble and bob up to the surface. At a lower temperature sufganiyot will absorb a lot of oil. At a higher temperature, they will burn on the outside before the inside is done.
Carefully slide several dough circles into the hot oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes, until nicely browned on the bottom. Turn them over: At this stage the bottom part has lost much more liquid than the top, and thus is lighter weight. The sufganiyot will flip over at a slight nudge from a slotted spoon.
Continue frying for another 2-3 minutes, until the entire sufganiya is browned. Remove with a slotted spoon; transfer to a tray or plate with paper towels to absorb grease. Fry the rest in the same manner.
Fill the sufganiyot with jelly, or other filling of your choice, with the help of a syringe or a pastry bag with a nozzle. If none of these are available, use a knife to make a small incision in the side, and spoon in the filling.
Fill a small strainer with powdered sugar and dust the sufganiyot generously. Eat as soon as possible.
Butternut squash and cheese latkes
In addition to the sufganiyot there really ought to be something savory, too, fried in a bit less oil. The following recipe makes 45 mini-latkes.
1 medium-sized butternut squash (dalorit), about 800 gr. (500 gr. after cleaning, seeding and peeling)
1 cup flour
250 gr. Tuv Taam cheese (semi-soft white cheese)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
olive oil or butter, or a combination
Peel, seed and cut the butternut squash into large cubes. Place in a bowl, cover and microwave on high until soft (5-12 minutes depending on how powerful your oven is). Let cool. Mash the squash with a fork and add egg, flour and cheese. Crumble the cheese with a fork and stir until the ingredients are uniformly mixed; season with salt and pepper.
In a broad pan or skillet, preferably Teflon-coated, melt enough olive oil and butter to reach a height of 2-3 mm. Use two spoons to place mounds of the mixture into the hot oil (for rounder, more aesthetically pleasing latkes, transfer the mixture to a plastic bag, slice off a corner with scissors, and squeeze out the mixture into the pan). Fry the latkes on medium-low heat, until golden-brown on the bottom. Flip over and brown on the other side.
Remove the latkes to a plate with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve hot, with sour cream.
Fried Hanukkah crullers
These are actually fried noodles made from slightly sweetened pasta dough. The recipe is courtesy of Gan Yehudit - a kindergarten in Kiryat Ono - which allows kids to try their hand at various activities: kneading, cutting, tying and also eating. If you have a pasta machine, use it for rolling out the dough extra thin.
3 cups flour
3 eggs + 3yolks
3 bags powdered vanilla sugar (or 3 tbsp. sugar + 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
25 gr. melted butter, or 2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. brandy or rum
3/4 tsp. salt
oil for deep frying
In a mixing bowl combine flour, eggs, yolks, vanilla sugar, melted butter, brandy and salt, until you form a fairly dry dough. If it is sticky, add a little flour. Knead for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and flexible. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate from at least one hour to overnight.
Cut the dough into quarters. On a floured surface, roll one piece out super thin, ideally to no more than 1 mm. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the dough into strips about 2 cm. wide (no need for accuracy; the length isn't important either).
Heat the oil to a fairly high temperature, about 185-190 degrees Celsius. At this temperature a piece of dough tossed into the oil will create bubbles and float to the surface almost immediately.
Twist each dough strip, or tie each one into a knot, and carefully slip several strips into the oil. Fry until the dough browns, about a minute or two, flip them over with a slotted spoon, and keep frying until they brown on the other side.
Remove to a tray or plate with paper towels. Dust generously with powdered sugar.