The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates the successful Jewish revolt against the provincial Greek government of Judea during the time of the Second Temple (between 530 BCE and 70 CE, if you’re curious). Led by the Maccabees, the Jews reclaimed the desecrated temple, but they found only one day’s worth of purified oil to light the menorah, which was required to burn continuously. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days, enough time for a fresh supply to arrive.
During the eight days of Hanukkah, we celebrate that miracle by eating foods fried in oil, rivaling Halloween for best gratuitous reason to eat junk food—holiday division. Latkes steal most of the Hanukkah spotlight, but sufganiyot—yeast-raised, jelly-filled donuts—are ever popular. Throughout Israel, bakeries turn into donut factories, producing tray after tray of plump, light, and golden brown beauties. We’ve found that eggy challah dough, enriched with butter and sugar, makes a great donut batter that’s easy to work with. Instead of rolling out the dough and punching out rings as with traditional yeast donuts, we use an ice cream scoop to form and dispense the sufganiyot into the oil.
We love the exotic and festive combination of quince jam and rose petal sugar, but feel free to substitute any jam and sugar combination. May we suggest our Federal Donuts cookbook for inspiration?