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Monday, December 19, 2005

'Tis the season

Not that season... Sufganiyah (jelly donut) season!

Sufganiyot
(c) tip.co.il

Every year the selection seems to be growing and everyone seems to have their favorite... but there are a few things we can all agree on:

1.  They have to be fresh.  Even an hour can make a difference.  If your skin doesn't start to break out from the airborne oil and your teeth don't ache from the anticipation of the thick dusting of powdered sugar... why bother?

2.  They have to be big!  There is no correlation between the size of a sufganiyah and the size of one's mouth.  A sufganiyah should be about the size of a regulation softball... or at least big enough to mess both cheeks with the first bite.

3.  They have to be in season.  Sufganiot made with the same recipe in July can't possibly taste as good as the ones made during the Hannukah season.  Don't argue.

Beyond that there is very little consensus on fillings, toppings and the finer points of consuming these diet-busters.

That's why I'd like to know:

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by David Bogner on December 19, 2005 | Permalink

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PINEAPPLE? I thought the country was going to you-know-where in a handbasket when I was in Tel Aviv and somebody microwaved my falafel, but that's just vile. Vanilla cream sounds mighty nice, though...

Posted by: efrex | Dec 19, 2005 2:11:07 PM

mmmm caramel is so yummy. I usually just have jelly but an Israeli bakery near me sells all the funky flavors and I tried caramel last year, it was so good!

Posted by: Rebecca | Dec 19, 2005 2:25:54 PM

coconut cream would be my weakness

Posted by: Ocean Guy | Dec 19, 2005 2:39:50 PM

Other: I like to pick plum-jam filled. If unavailable: raspberry jam.

Posted by: Account Deleted | Dec 19, 2005 2:52:51 PM

It has long been my concern that after peace with the Arabs is achieved, a civil war between Israelis on exactly this issue will explode.

Happy carbs!

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Dec 19, 2005 4:09:48 PM

All this talk of fried food is making my scale ache in sympathy.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 19, 2005 4:15:31 PM

Efrex... 'Al ta'am v'reach...' :-)

Rebecca... Ever since I had my 1st Caramel sufganiyah at Uri's back in 1983 I haven't been able to really appreciate anything else.

Ocean Guy... that sounds good, but you'd have to have coconut shavings on top as well. :-)

mademoiselle a. ... May I assume we will be treated to some pictures of you frying sufganiyot at home?

Doctor Bean... I'm just waiting for bakeries to start selling sufganiyot with either orange or blue colored filling based on one's political leanings. People would deliberately leave a bit of the colored jelly at the corner of their mouth as a way of advertising their sympathies.

Jack... I don't think it's the fried food alone, but rather the sour cream and other toppings that go on things like latkes.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 19, 2005 4:20:09 PM

Yes, believe it or not, I've never had one... but having the greedy sweet tooth that I have, I would pounce on ANY filling in that list! ; )

Posted by: Irina | Dec 19, 2005 5:22:45 PM

They all sound so good!

My favorites are raspberry and chocolate, though.
Pineapple sounds like it could be interesting, too.

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Dec 19, 2005 5:43:39 PM

Oh now I am longing for sufganiot. I guess I will be making some. However I just realized that I have some Carmel - so I may have to try that out. Mmmmmmmmm.....

Posted by: Leah Guildenstern | Dec 19, 2005 6:25:47 PM

The only time I had sufganyot, there was only one kind available, and I'm guessing they were filled with a whole lot of nasty, because they were awful. I'll assume that ones made in Israel are much better.

In the mean time, my wife makes some mean sweet potato latkes..

Posted by: Geoff | Dec 19, 2005 6:43:52 PM

Trep..I clicked on the link under the picture above and I see that there are some great pictures there that would have been very fitting for some of your previous posts. Specifically, the first one for your older post...(The fine line between consumer and voyeur) and the very last one - for yesterday's post. : )

"Sufganiot made with the same recipe in July can't possibly taste as good"...except of course at the county fairs - mmm mmm fried dough, with powder sugar...delicious!

Posted by: jaime | Dec 19, 2005 6:46:44 PM

Yo you forgot the new and beyond-your-wildest-dreams good flavour this year: butterscotch. Haven't tried one yet? --hie thee to your nearest sufganiot provider and scarf down! They are better than caramel (hard to beat), better than vanilla cream, better than anything. Though I have to say I wanted to vote again (caramel was my pick) because the vanilla cream is good. And then there's the custard. Oh and the raspberry. Ahhhhhhhh. I'm so glad it isn't Hanukkah all year round or that is what I'd be!

Posted by: Yael | Dec 19, 2005 7:07:24 PM

As a Jew who grew up in central Texas, I have never known the joys of sufganiot. Thanks for enlightening me. I'm sure I'll have one some day.

Posted by: Judith | Dec 19, 2005 7:31:00 PM

I don't make my own but my mom does make them. As Irecall she doesn't use any filling but maybe we'll have to change that this year. What about alcoholic sufganiyut..maybe some rum or drambuie ...now your talking!

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | Dec 19, 2005 8:39:09 PM

Aaaaahhh...sufganiyot! One of things I miss the most, being in the US. Caramel all the way, but raspberry jam comes in 2nd. Thanks for the pics.

Yael,
butterscotch sounds heavenly!

Posted by: Essie | Dec 19, 2005 9:40:41 PM

Seeing all these pictures reminds me of the great Sufganiyot war of 1983. Picture hundreds of teenagers flinging jelly filled donuts.

Or think about the last pie fight you saw The Marx Brothers or The Three Stooges engage in and you'll have the right image in mind.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 19, 2005 10:32:47 PM

At least on this point, I can say I'm "traditional" and take my pontchkes with Strawberry jam. Any other filling would be like, like eating gefilte fish with sugar in it. :-> (Of course, if Key Lime were on that list of fillings, I might be tempted over to the "reform" bench.)

Posted by: JenniferT | Dec 19, 2005 11:20:52 PM

I would say traditional is raspberry, not strawberry.
I didn't realize that ribat halav is caramel. just plain ol' caramel? maybe it tastes better in Hebrew. We used to make it for our Argentinian garin when they were in the army. milk, sugar and marbles in the bottom of the pan to keep it from sticking.

Posted by: timna | Dec 19, 2005 11:33:14 PM

Irina... You have no excuses. Granted it won't be the same as getting a sufganiah here... but any of the Brooklyn kosher bakeries should have sufganiot this time of year. What are you still doing sitting here reading? Go! :-)

Steg... I haven't worked up my nerve for any of the exotic flavors, so don't feel bad. I figure even if I wasn't trying to watch my girlish figure after 3 or 4 sufganiot you can't really appreciate a new flavor as much.

Leah... Let me know how they come out. I don't know if I'm brave enough to try it, but if you feel like sharing your recipe I'm sure somebody will give it a whirl.

Geoff... [snaps fingers to get Geoff's attention] over here... look at me. We're talking about sufganiot right now. I know I mentioned latkes, but try to focus, mmkay? Alrightythen... where were we? Oh yeah, you were telling us that you've never had a good sufganiyah? How is that possible. You must have gotten one that had been sitting around for a couple of hours. Like I said, freshness is crucial.

Jaime... Between you and Geoff we seem to have some attention issues. sheesh! Now as much as I love county fair food (fried dough, fresh buttered corn, etc.) we're talking about Hanukkah food dear. Plenty of time to go off to the fair this summer. :-)

Yael... Are you kidding me?! I love butterscotch! How do you say that in Hebrew??? I have to start asking around.

Judith... Sounds to me like it's time to pay a visit to the holy land! This time of year the air fares are pretty reasonable too. :-)

Jewish Blogmiester... You'd need a vehicle for the alcohol. Just injecting schnapps into a sufganiyah would leave you with a soggy wad of fried dough. with booze leaking out of it.

Essie... Based on some of your comments I think when you finally come for a visit we'll have to take you an a culinary tour of the country! :-)

Jack... I can't imagine wasting even one of these precious items. (that does sound like fun, though). :-)

Jennifer.... Ooooh, Key Lime! I think Zahava could go for that!

Timna... Yup, that's it, although they probably called it dulche de leche (sp?)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 19, 2005 11:43:52 PM

Timna - As soon as caramel was mentioned, I knew it sounded familar. Thanks for triggering the connection to Argentina. It is called Dulce de Leche. There is a very good local Argentinian Restaurant near where I live, that has caramel desserts to die for.

And David, yep..it'sooo true about my attention issues. But please, shh, we wouldn't want my husband to think he's right! If it makes you feel any better, my choice would be caramel. : )

Posted by: jaime | Dec 19, 2005 11:57:56 PM

definitely dulce de leche I'm thinking of. so how do I know it in two other languages and not English?

(I'm procrastinating, I have a paper to write to present tomorrow morning.)

Posted by: timna | Dec 20, 2005 1:18:50 AM

my favorite flavored filling would be...... angioplasty-berry...

Posted by: shabtai | Dec 20, 2005 1:45:44 AM

*Sigh*... I guess I'll have to check out the local Israeli neighborhood located conveniently two subway stops near me... If the transit strike doesn't start, that is!

Yum, dulce de leche... Gimme DDL *anything*! (Rolling eyes in ecstatic anticipation) Do they make any w/ cinnamon? Because if they do... I'm outta here!

Posted by: Irina | Dec 20, 2005 2:25:51 AM

Mmm, dulce de leche... for those without the light culinary touch, you can make a very good version of the stuff by putting an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk into a pot of boiling water for three hours, ocassionally adding water to keep the can covered. Let the can cool off, open, and voila! I don't know how long it can last in the fridge, but it's never stuck around long enough for me to find out...

Posted by: efrex | Dec 20, 2005 3:27:53 AM

I am all about the Ribat Chalav. I gotta say the stuff they sell here is just not as good. Passable, but not as good. I can attest to Efrex's dulce de leche recipe, I have made it and it goes FAST!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Faye | Dec 20, 2005 5:29:46 AM

Jaime... Yeah, like you wouldn't take my wife's side in a second because of the whole 'sisterhood' thing! :-)

Timna... Blog reading is not good for productivity! Back to work!. :-)

Shabtai... Given you profession I'd think these confections would be good for business, no?

Irina... I haven't seen cinnamon, but now that you mention it it might be yummy to mix the powdered sugar with cinnamon before giving the sufganiot the sprinkling on top.

Efrex... Bonus! Thanks for the tip. Making the stuff from scratch is a huge pain in the neck and if you get distracted you can ruin both the DDL and the pot! I'll have to try this.

Faye.. thanks for seconding Efrex's tip, now I really have to give it a try.

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 20, 2005 12:57:58 PM

it looks like a jelly donut...

On a side note, is it Hannukah, Channukah, Chanukah, Channuka, Hannuka....??? I get very confused...

Posted by: nrg the Gentile | Dec 20, 2005 2:26:35 PM

mademoiselle a. ... May I assume we will be treated to some pictures of you frying sufganiyot at home?

No, that's a wrong assumption :) I've had enough fun making latkes, if you read the respective post (hey, it even has photos). We escape the smell of fried things in our open kitchen/salon and get our sufganiyot from the bakery downstairs.

Posted by: Account Deleted | Dec 20, 2005 2:42:36 PM

nrg the gentile... It is a jelly donut silly! Sufganiyah is just the Hebrew name for it. :-) Because the miracle story behind the holiday of Hanukkah involves olive oil, traditional Hanukkah food is fare that is cooked in oil (donuts, potato pancakes, etc.).

mademoiselle a. ... I loved the latke pictures from your site... I just figured that anyone who makes their own yogurt wouldn't be able to resist the temptation to fry up homemade sufganiyot. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 20, 2005 3:21:33 PM

nrg: Hebrew transliteration is rarely carried out in a consistent manner. If you want the respect of the grammarians, use two "k"s and one "n," so "Chanukkah" or "Hanukkah" are probably best. All of the variants you listed are acceptable, though (we know what you mean! :) )

Posted by: efrex | Dec 20, 2005 9:16:45 PM

Thanks on the translation clarification! And ... DUH on the jelly donut, nrg!!.. I should have figured that one out for myself. ;-) Christmas tradition also full of things like donuts and deepfried in olive oil (and not at all fattening... ahem...) delights. At least in norway and the italian tradition I grew up with.

Posted by: nrg | Dec 21, 2005 10:47:51 AM

I didn't vote because I've only had raspberry (from Pratzel's) and it wasn't that exciting. But I would've voted for caramel on faith, if I'd noticed it in the list.

Posted by: Tanya | Dec 21, 2005 5:26:58 PM

Confession time: I did not vote because there was no "all of the above" option. Making us choose between flavors borders on cruelty! That picture made me drool...if forced to choose, I would have gone with whoever picked key lime...

Posted by: mcaryeh | Dec 22, 2005 2:07:48 AM

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