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Southern Sufganiyot

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We had a wonderful Chanukah. Hope you did too - or if you're having Christmas, I hope you're going to enjoy the best one yet.  And if neither of those apply, Happy December.

Happy December anyway - this has to be one of my most favorite months of the year.  People are decorating, it's not 100* outside, it's a great excuse to nest and eat and drink and just enjoy each others' company.



One of the traditional foods for Chanukah is sufganiyot (pronounced: soof - gahn - ee - yote).  You know those crazy-good creme or fruit filled doughnuts at Krispy Kreme?  Sufganiyot.

Because Chanukah is based on victory of the Macabees and the miracle of the oil, we celebrate with foods fried in oil.  Thus, latkes and sufganiyot.  And it's a good excuse for anything else you like to eat that's fried.

I like to incorporate who we are religiously with who we are as Southerners which means so many things get this really fun spin, and *that* is really what Jewish food is all about because so much of it (seriously) is a take on the regional foods of wherever we were living in whatever era of time.  This means that sufganiyot for Av and I are beignets (for us not so much French as so many sweet powdered-sugar experiences at Cafe du Monde) filled with mayhaw or muscadine jelly. 

This sweet dough not only makes great sufganiyot, you can use the dough that's left to make monkey bread.

Recipe (makes a ton of sufganiyot, or a reasonable amount of sufganiyot (24 average size ones) and enough for some monkey bread too):

1 cup water (at 110-115* to activate the yeast)
1-1/2 tbsp yeast
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. evaporated milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp melted butter
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp salt
6 c. all-purpose flour

Fillings: your favorite jelly, bite-size chocolates, or just a sprinkling on top

Directions:
In the Kitchenaid, combine the yeast and warm water and wait for it to bubble/activate and the yeast to dissolve - usually about 7 or 8 minutes.

Add eggs to Kitchenaid, combine well.

Add buttermilk and evaporated milk to the Kitchenaid bowl and keep mixing.

Add sugar, melted butter, salt, and flour one cup at a time while it's still mixing.  At six cups of flour, you should be getting a dough that is coming together but not get making a ball.  If you lift the dough hook up and it slowly comes down like in the pic to the left-most below, you're there.  Feel free to add more flour if needed.

Move the dough to a large bowl, cover with Saran and a towel so it's nice and dark, and let rest until doubled, about 90 minutes or so.

Once the dough has risen, it's ready to make sufganiyot.  Heat about 1/2" of oil to 375* in a large skillet.  You can roll the dough out or do like I do and simply shape it by hand into flat little rectangles.  Turn the pieces once they become a nice golden brown, then cook on the other side until golden brown all over.



Put them on a large plate lined with paper towels.  If you like your beignets simple, you can sprinkle them with powdered sugar at this point, or when they're just cool enough to touch, you can take a spoon and open each of them up just enough to put some filling (sometimes you'll need to use your fork to remove a bit of dough from the inside to make room for this pocket).  

I like to fill the beignets by putting jelly in a small ziploc, cutting off one of the bottom corners, and squeezing it like a pastry bag.  Av likes it when I tuck a piece of chocolate inside.  If you like candy bars, just imagine all the options with those little bite-size pieces placed inside.  Yum.  Eat while hot.

Southern Sufganiyot

Southern Sufganiyot

Whatever quantity of dough is left from sufganiyot can be made into monkey bread.  Just take whatever dough is left, ask for help from the cutest three-year-old you know:

Shug Making Monkey Bread
...and together roll into round pieces, about the size of a ping pong ball.  Roll each ball first into melted butter, then roll them around in a bowl with whatever proportion of white and brown sugar you like (you can add cinnamon too) and then place the little pieces in a bundt pan.

Monkey Bread

Cover the bowl with Saran and a tea towel and let rest for another 45 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375* and then bake for 45 minutes or so, until browned:
Monkey Bread
Turn it out upside down over a plate for presentation, and once it's a reasonable temperature (after 15 or 20 minutes) eat it like a little monkey by pinching the little balls off with your hands.  Or you can be an adult and eat with a fork.

Yum.  Again.

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