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Chanukah: Lior Hillel’s family pastry project

Every year before Chanukah rolls around in Israel, everyone gets very excited.
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November 24, 2015

Every year before Chanukah rolls around in Israel, everyone gets very excited. They can’t wait to start to enjoy the holiday spirit — and, of course, the food. In the past few years, talented pastry chefs in Israel have made very creative sufganiyot, the holiday’s traditional jelly doughnut. They’ve played with the dough, the fillings, added crazy garnishes on top, and obviously tacked on a price to match. 

I grew up in a middle-class home in Moshav Sday Hemed near Ra’anana, a small community of about 80 families, a beautiful pastoral place. My mother wasn’t, and still is not, the biggest fan of sweets. So every Chanukah, she’d put aside a sufgania and say, “Too big. … Too fried. … Too much. … I’ll eat half and save for later.” I can still hear her voice saying that in my head. 

But she has a recipe for mini-sufganiyot that takes just 15 minutes. It’s easy and fun to prepare as a family activity, and you feel better about eating it because it’s small. The filling can be anything you want, from jelly, nut butter or chocolate ( my favorite). 

I choose to keep them as is, without filling, and I toss them in powdered sugar mixed with cardamom and dip them in caramel sauce — yes! It’s straight up delicious! I hope you find this recipe fun, easy, delicious and an activity that brings smiles and light to your family.

Chag sameach.

Sour cream and cardamom sufganiyot

  • 1 quart cooking oil (grapeseed or canola)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspooon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom 

 

In a deep, narrow pot, heat the oil slowly to 350 F.

In one bowl, thoroughly mix the flour, granulated sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

In a second bowl, thoroughly mix the sour cream, eggs and vanilla extract.

Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix well.

Drop batter by spoonsful into the hot oil. When the sufganiyot is golden, flip it to the other side, and fry until it is a deep caramel color.

Place the finished sufganiyot on paper towels.

In a mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cardamom. Add the sufganiyot and toss gently until coated.

If you have a good caramel sauce, dip the fresh sufganiyot into the caramel and enjoy.

Makes  about  25 mini sufganiyot. 

Lior Hillel is executive chef and owner at Bacaro LA.

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