Monday 30 November 2015

Peanut Butter and Jelly Sufganiyah

Hanukkah is an annual Jewish holiday where the miracle associated with the burning of the Temple oil is observed. In commemoration, delicious, fried foods are eaten. A popular fried snack at Hanukkah are savoury potato latkes. A popular fried snack of the sweet variety is sufganiyah. With Hanukkah beginning at sundown this upcoming Sunday, I thought it would be fun to make some sufganiyah of our own. They are fried doughnuts with usually a jelly or custard filling and dusted with powdered sugar. Ever since I was a kid I've loved peanut butter and jam together and have long been meaning to incorporate them in a recipe on the blog. The day has finally arrived! 

Let's talk a little bit about sufganiyah. What I'm about to show you is the traditional ponchke-style. That means two rounds of dough used to seal around the filling like a sandwich. A more popular version nowadays is called sufganiyot, where a whole ball of dough is fried and then injected with a filling later with a special syringe. You can use either method you're most comfortable with. You can also use any kind of filling you like! You might like just peanut butter or just jelly, custard, ganache, pumpkin puree, etc... Some sufganiyah is dipped in chocolate on one side. You can have a lot of creative fun with these. 

As far as PB and J go I'm usually a member of the crunchy peanut butter with strawberry jam (rather than jelly) tribe. Each doughnut only has 1/2 tsp of peanut butter anyway, so using the crunchy stuff just seemed redundant. I love a good, generous smear of crunchy peanut butter but for a little bit of doughnut filling I'd recommend smooth. Could you use jam instead of jelly? Of course you could. Jelly is just a more traditional option for doughnut filling. Point in fact, I intended to use jam in this recipe but I had a gut-feeling to do a little something different for myself and go with concord grape for this recipe. When I went to the store they didn't have any grape jam, only jelly. So that's what I ended up with. I'm not mad at it though. These turned out fantastic! 

You will also notice a very small amount of cinnamon in the recipe. That's not a misprint. When making this recipe you might wonder if such a tiny amount is even worth it. It's not a crucial element of the recipe. You could omit it and these will still turn out great. The idea is not to give the dough a cinnamon flavour. It's just enough to give it a subtle touch that people will enjoy but not be able to put their finger on. I definitely recommend it. 


2 tbsp (or standard packets) dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 F/43 C)
3/4 cup warm 2% milk (about 110 F/43 C)
5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature

1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 egg white
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour (plus additional)
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup jelly
Oil suitable for frying (such as canola, vegetable or peanut)
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Start by dissolving the yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water in a small bowl. The water should be very warm but still comfortable to the touch (about 110 F/43 C). If the water is not warm enough it will not activate the yeast however if it's too hot it could kill the yeast. Cover and allow to foam for about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of warmed 2% milk (about 110 F/43 C) and 5 tbsp of unsalted, softened butter until the butter melts and dissolves. 

Then whisk in the sugar, egg, egg yolk, salt, cinnamon, yeast mixture and 3 cups of flour (1 cup at a time). After the first cup of flour switch from a whisk to a large wooden spoon. Of course if you have a stand mixer that will work great too. Form a soft ball of dough (don't knead it just yet).

Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and turn the dough to lightly grease it all over. Cover and let stand in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour or until the dough doubles in size.

Punch down the dough to release excess air built up during the proofing process.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8 times. The key is not to overwork the dough or you will end up with chewy donuts. Divide the dough in half and roll into two even-sized balls. 

Use a rolling pin to flatten each ball of dough to about 1/4" thickness. Use the rim of a glass or a round-cutter to cut out as many rounds of dough as you can. Roll out the excess dough to cut out more circles. This recipe will yield about 30 circles which will make 15 sufganiyah. 

Pipe or spoon 1/2 tsp of both peanut butter and jelly in the middle of half of your circles. 


Lightly brush the edges with egg white and then use the other half of the circles to seal the peanut butter and jelly. Use your fingertips to seal the edges all the way around. Give the sufganiyah a soft pat to even out the bump when you're done.

Arrange the sufganiyah on a greased baking tray and cover with a damp towel. Let stand in a warm, draft-free place and allow to double in size again (about 45 minutes to an hour). 

Heat 2 inches of oil to about 360 F/182 C. Fry the doughnuts, a few at a time, for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown on each side. 

When done, drain on paper towels and allow to cool slightly. 

Then lightly coat the suganiyah in powdered sugar. You can roll the doughnuts in the powdered sugar but I personally think they look a little more sophisticated if you lightly let the it fall like snow over the sufganiyah through a fine mesh sieve. 

These are best served warm. They seem lighter, more flavourful and the peanut butter and jelly will be warm and runny. However if you have any leftover after they've cooled or are making these in advance for something, let them cool to room temperature and store them in an airtight container. Try to consume within a day. They're beautiful and delicious but don't stay fresh for much longer than that.  

These are so good! I made them with a friend of mine and then I took the leftover ones into work today and they were a huge hit. I mean, who doesn't love doughnuts? These are a great Hanukkah treat but you can enjoy them any time of year. Kids will especially love these. They're like little fried PB&J sandwiches. I'm already looking forward to making these again and you will too.

Happy Hanukkah to you and yours!

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