Pastry Chefs' Most Impressive Hanukkah Donuts

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Croquembouche doughnuts.
Croquembouche doughnuts.Credit: Eti Namir
Keren Kadosh
Keren Kadosh

I know it’s become trendy to say “I only like jam doughnuts.” It makes you sound like a person of refined tastes. But hey, it’s Hanukkah and I’m not wasting my calories on any jam doughnut. I want my doughnuts to be very high quality with fine cream fillings and icings, fruit purees and chocolates.

A few tips before we dive into the doughnut making. Make sure the oil temperature is 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit (buy a thermometer, it will be very handy for baking). Place each doughnut on a square of cut baking (parchment) paper, it will help you move it to the oil without ruining it.

Click here for all our Hanukkah recipes

Keren Kadosh.Credit: Emil Salman

I grease the pan in which I put the doughnuts to rise. I use a large cookie spatula to lift the doughnuts to the oil, with the lower, flat part facing up.

Ingredients for 30-35 doughnuts

1 kilogram flour (7 cups)

1 bag Shimrit yeast (or 2 tablespoons dry yeast)

1 1/3 cup lukewarm milk

1/3 cup sugar

3 eggs

95 grams (1/2 cup) soft butter

2 teaspoons Cognac (30 ml)

Zest from half a lemon

Making the doughnuts

Mix the milk and yeast in a mixer with a kneading hook

Add the sugar, flour, cognac and lemon zest and continue mixing.

Gradually add butter and mix until smooth.

Continue mixing for 5 minutes until you get a smooth, shiny dough.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave until it rises to twice its volume.

Move the dough to a lightly floured work surface and make egg-size balls (40 grams).

Place on a greased surface or cut baking paper squares, and grease the balls, too, to prevent them from drying.

Leave to rise until the volume doubles.

Heat oil for deep frying and place the dough balls into oil, carefully.

If you use paper squares, use them to move the balls to the oil – the paper will separate from the dough in frying. Don’t forget to take the paper out later.

Fry for about 2 minutes on each side until golden. Take out and place on paper towels and allow to cool.

Doughnuts with mascarpone and strawberries.Credit: Emil Salman

Doughnuts with mascarpone and strawberries


250 grams (1 cup) whipping cream

150 grams (2/3 cup) soft mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip all ingredients into a firm whipped cream. Fit a pastry bag with a small serrated tip and fill it with the cream.

Cool the doughnuts, slice horizontally in half, squirt the mascarpone cream on the bottom half and arrange strawberries on top.

Top with the other donut half and decorate with a dollop of whipped cream and half a strawberry.

Option: Dust with powdered sugar.

Mont Blanc doughnuts – whipped cream and chestnut puree

Mont Blanc doughnuts – whipped cream and chestnut puree.Credit: Emil Salman

Named after the highest mountain in the Alps.

Ingredients for crème patissiere

1/2 liter milk (2 1/4 cups)

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

50 grams cornstarch (6 tablespoons)

4 egg yolks

140 grams sugar (5/8 cup)

250 grams cream (1 cup)

Boil the milk with the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix yolks with the cornstarch and sugar until smooth.

Pour the milk onto the yolk mixture while stirring. Return to the pot and boil again, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat, cover with plastic wrap (touching the crème) and refrigerate until completely cool.

Whip up the cream, take the crème from the fridge and mix with the mixer’s guitar hook. Fold the whipped cream into the crème and refrigerate.

Coating – chocolate ganache

200 grams dark chocolate (1 cup + 2 tablespoons)

200 grams cream (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons)

A pinch of salt

Heat cream and salt until almost boiling.

Once cream begins to boil, pour over the chocolate and mix until smooth.

Chestnut puree:

200 grams (7 oz) chestnut puree (available in specialty shops)

40 grams (1/4 cup) butter

Whip everything together and put in a pastry bag with a multi-opening tip (a garlic press can also be used).


Chestnuts glace (optional)


Squirt the crème patissiere into the doughnut.

Coat the top part with chocolate ganache.

Squirt on top strings of chestnut puree and scatter with pieces of cracked chestnut glace.

Square doughnuts

Is it difficult to roll the doughnuts? Do they open at the bottom? Don’t give up.

Make the dough according to the recipe and refrigerate for the night. The next day roll out the dough to 7 millimeters thick and cut into squares/circles/flowers/stars. Place on cut baking (parchment) paper squares for rising until it doubles in volume.

Warm up the oil for deep frying and place the doughnut squares into the oil. Don’t worry, the paper will come off by itself during frying – don’t forget to take it out!

Fry for about two minutes on each side, until golden. Take out doughnuts and place on paper towels to cool.

Chunky Monkey doughnuts.Credit: Emil Salman

Chunky Monkey doughnuts


Make crème patissiere based on the recipe above, and add:

Crushed banana

1/2 cup roughly chopped nuts

1/2 cup chocolate chips


200 grams (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) white chocolate

20 grams oil (5 teaspoons)


Nuts, chocolate chips, curled dried banana


Fill the doughnut using a pastry bag tip with a large hole.

Melt chocolate in a bain-marie, add the oil and mix to a smooth paste. Dip the doughnut into the mixture and decorate with nuts, chocolate and dried banana.

Oreo doughnuts.Credit: Emil Salman

Oreo doughnuts


Add a package of finely ground Oreo cookies to the crème patissiere.


200 grams (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) white chocolate

20 grams (5 teaspoons) oil


Broken Oreo cookies

Fill the doughnut from its side with a pastry bag tip with a large hole.

Melt chocolate in a bain-marie, add the oil and mix until smooth. Dip the doughnut and decorate with pieces of Oreo cookies.

Croquembouche doughnuts.Credit: Eti Namir

Croquembouche doughnuts

This impressive, tantalizing tower of doughnuts sure to make an impression.  Make sure you have a metal cone and baking paper.

The base – doughnuts (see earlier recipe)


750 grams (3 3/4 cups) sugar

120 ml (1/2 cup) water

70 grams glucose


Put all the ingredients in a deep frying pan and heat to 170 degrees Celsius (340 degrees Fahrenheit) or an amber color. Remove from the fire. (When the caramel hardens you can reheat it on a low flame, if need be.)

Grease the cone and wrap in baking pape.

First row – dip one side of each doughnut with a bit of crème and attach to cone bottom. Do the same with the next until you’ve completed the circle.

Second row – dip one side of the doughnut and its bottom part and attach to the first layer beneath. Continue until the cone is complete.

Wait for the caramel to harden and raise the construction from the cone. Perforate each doughnut and fill with crème, and decorate with marshmallows, chocolates and strawberries.

Keren Kadosh is chef of Kadosh Café.