Sufganiyot: Traditional and Modernishe Baked

So are baked sufganiyot just as good as fried? Just for you, dear readers, I tried both side by side to see.

Baked Sufganiyot

The short answer is yes. The inside tastes pretty much the same. The crust is not at all the same, but, with enough powdered sugar it doesn’t really matter so much.

The appearance of baked and fried is different, too, but that becomes secondary when you put enough powdered sugar or glaze on top. My kids can’t tell the difference. My husband likes the baked version a little better because it has all the flavor and none of the grease.

Adapted from Alton Brown’s Doughnut recipe. I changed the liquid to be all water, but you could use part soy milk or milk. I also changed from shortening to corn oil, and I think that is much better. Nutmeg is something else I left out. I pretty much ignored his mixing instructions, so I will tell you what I did instead. I have also used challah dough to make sufganiyot. Figure about 1.75 to 2 ounces of dough per doughnut. Alton Brown’s recipe makes about 44 ounces of dough, and I got 2 dozen doughnuts. You can get a larger yield if you make smaller doughnuts, of course.

If you would prefer to make sufganiyot using part of a large batch of challah dough, you can try this water challah dough (which tastes strikingly like doughnuts when baked) or this egg rich challah dough. You will have enough dough for lots of doughnuts plus challah for Shabbos.

1 2/3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbl. yeast
2 eggs
4 Tbl. sugar
4 Tbl. oil
23-24 ounces all purpose flour (about 5 cups of flour)
1 1/2 tsp. salt

oil, for frying (if you fry rather than bake these)
fillings for the doughnuts, such as jelly, lemon curd, pastry cream, etc.
powdered sugar for dusting on top of doughnuts

Combine the yeast, water, eggs, oil sugar, flour and salt in a mixing bowl (reserve a little of the flour, maybe a half cup). Mix the dough well until a soft dough forms.  Let the dough rest 15 minutes. Mix the dough using the dough hook on the mixer a few minutes, adding the reserved flour as needed to make a dough that is smooth and just slightly sticky. Let the dough rise, covered, in a greased bowl for about an hour (I removed the dough to a plate, greased the mixing bowl, and put the dough back to rise. I used the plate to cover the bowl, but a towel works well, too).

After the dough has doubled, gently remove it from the bowl and put it on a baking sheet lined with floured parchment. Divide the dough into 24 pieces, shape each piece into a ball and then flatten each ball on a baking sheet lined with floured parchment. Each round of dough should weigh about a little less than 2 ounces and should be slightly less than 1/2″ thick. You can also roll out the dough and cut out circles.

Let the dough circles rise, lightly covered (I use parchment paper, but a tea towel or greased plastic works well, too), for 30-45 minutes.

When you are ready to cook the doughnuts, heat 2″-3″ of oil in a heavy pot to 365 degrees (or, for baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or 375 convection mode). When the oil is hot, drop 3 doughnuts into the pot. Cook for 60-90 seconds per side, or until golden brown.

If you want to bake the doughnuts, spray the tops with some oil and put them into the preheated 400 degree oven for about 8-12 minutes, until golden brown.

If you want a filling other than jam (and I particularly like Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Preserves for this), you can try lemon curd or pastry cream.

It is easiest to fill the sufganiyot AFTER baking or frying. You can get a filling injector (a plastic plunger thing-ey with a a piping tip that you plunge into the doughnut)–I found one at the dollar store though there are more expensive versions. I didn’t bother this time, though. I just used a knife to cut an opening in the side, jiggled it a bit to make a hole in the center, and then stuck a small teaspoon with filling into the opening.

The injector thing requires less dexterity and I recommend looking out for one the next time you are in the housewares section of the dollar store. Here is a link to an example of what I am talking about on Amazon. It is a cake decorator plunger with various tips. The jelly doughnut tip, or the Bismark tip, is the loooonnnng one with the sharp point. (And here is a model from Pampered Chef.) There is also a specialty metal piping tip that you can buy, called the Bismark tip, which is specifically for jelly doughnuts, eclairs, and bismarks (another name for berliners or the German version of jelly doughnuts, which is what a sufganiyot is anyway).

Lemon Curd
Makes 1 1/2 cups. Adapted from Martha Stewart.
Combine and cook over low heat in a saucepan until thickened, about 8-10 minutes  (or cook in a bowl set over a pot of hot water for about 20 minutes):
4 egg yolks
2 eggs (or can use just 2 yolks if you need the whites for something else)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
lemon zest from 2 lemons (optional–obviously, you have to zest the lemons before juicing them)
4 Tbl. butter or margarine or coconut oil

Vanilla Coconut Pastry Cream
Adapted from Nick Malgieri
2 cups  coconut milk
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
4 Tbsp.  coconut oil (optional)
2 Tsp. Vanilla

In a bowl, dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of coconut milk. Whisk in the eggs and yolks,

In a saucepan, combine the remaining coconut milk with the sugar. Bring the coconut milk to a boil.

Pour 1/3 of the boiling coconut milk into the eggs, whisking the eggs constantly so that they do not begin to cook.

Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the remaining boiling coconut milk, whisking the mixture in the pot constantly.

Continue whisking until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the coconut oil and vanilla.

For a glaze, mock fondant.

Vanilla Glaze
(originally created as an icing for black and white cookies, based on advice from Kathy/Hoosier2b, commenter at allrecipes)
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons of hot water
1/2 – 1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon colorless imitation vanilla (Wilton makes this and you can get this in a craft store. Or you can use regular vanilla)

You should have a mixture that is thick enough to provide opaque coverage when you spread it on the doughnuts, but the mixture should be thin enough to smooth out, without leaving marks from the spreading knife or spatula.

For chocolate, add the following to the vanilla glaze:

3 Tablespoons of dutch process cocoa (I just used heaping teaspoonfuls, but they were probably equal to 3 Tbl.)
1 tsp. oil
1 Tbl. light corn syrup
1 Tbl. boilling water, or enough to thin out the mixture

The cocoa make the mixture too thick and it needs thinning with more water, corn syrup, and oil.

Bonus: Want more esoteric flavors? On Chow, Leah Koenig offers up Ginger Lime Curd, Apple Cider Sufganiyot with Salted Caramel Filling, Mexican Hot Chocolate Sufganiyot with Marshmallow Filling, Chai Sufganiyot with Orange Pumpkin Buttercream.

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6 Responses to “Sufganiyot: Traditional and Modernishe Baked”

  1. Irene Saiger Says:

    I am SO impressed. Curious to know if you preferred one over the other???


    • pragmaticattic Says:

      Thanks, Irene! I actually liked them equally. True, the freshly fried had a certain something extra, but that edge dissipates pretty fast. I like the look of the fried better, but I don’t know that justifies boiling a large pot of oil. I think it is more about the fillings and the toppings.


  2. Leora Says:

    Wow, you are talented. I started to write up how I make sufganiyot and haven’t finished yet. And you have 2 methods plus filling (we never do filling because none of my kids like filling).


    • pragmaticattic Says:

      Thanks, Leora! Interesting that your kids don’t like filling. That is my son’s favorite part! I think I saw pictures of your sufganiyot in your slideshow–I am looking forward to your post explaining how you make them.

  3. Mrs. S. Says:

    Modernishe Baked
    This description made me smile! 🙂

    Happy Chanukah to you and your family!

  4. Chanukah Recipes « Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] traditional yeast and a short cut version Cake Pops Cookies Rugelach (I will hopefully post these […]

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