Fry it up!

Three recipes that will make the Hanukkah holiday very sweet and special.

(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Hanukkah is here once again, and so it’s time to prepare fried treats. Below, I’ve provided three recipes that will make the holidays very sweet and special. The first is churros, the second is long sufganiot that are filled with plum jam, and the third is chebakia, a North African treat that is very easy to prepare.
Hag same’ah!
Churros are deep-fried treats that are popular in Argentinean, Spanish and Brazilian cuisine. There are many versions and shapes. In the version I present here, lots of sugar and cinnamon are sprinkled on top.
Makes 35-40 churros
1 cup water or milk
100 gr. margarine or butter
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
Pinch of salt
1½ cups flour, sifted
4 large eggs
For frying:
Canola oil
½ cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
Icing bag with serrated tip
In a medium pot, add water or milk, margarine or butter, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt. Stir and heat over a flame. Add the flour while stirring rapidly, until dough falls away from sides of pot.
Remove from the flame and, while stirring, add the eggs one at a time. Stir rapidly until soft. Transfer dough to an icing bag with a serrated tip.
Heat oil in a pot for deep frying. Squeeze strips of dough that are 12-14 cm. long into the oil. Cut the dough with a scissors. Drop the dough into the oil in the form of a circle. Hold a knife and spoon for a few seconds on the spot where the circle closes, so it doesn’t open up. Otherwise, the dough won’t form a circle. This is a bit tricky at first, so until you get the hang of it, fry only one churro at a time.
After the first side has turned golden brown, flip the churro over. When it is browned on both sides, remove from oil and place on a paper towel. After you place all the churros on a serving platter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and serve.
My mother used to make flat, long and rectangular sufganiot that did not rise like the kind you find in bakeries these days in Israel. They were hollow inside, and my mother would fill them with plum jam.
Later in life, I discovered a similar treat in France that had lots of powdered sugar sprinkled on top. And once, when I served them to friends, they exclaimed, “Oh! We tasted pastries like this once in New Orleans,” which of course has its roots in French cuisine.
This recipe can be made dairy or parve. You don’t need to let the dough rise twice. You also don’t need to cut the sufganiot into little squares or make them symmetric.
Makes 40-45 medium sufganiot
3 cups flour, sifted
25 gr. fresh yeast
2 level Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
2 medium eggs or 1 large egg
3 Tbsp. oil or butter, melted
1 tsp. brandy
1 tsp. orange or lemon zest
1¾ cup water or milk
For deep frying:
Canola oil
200 gr. powdered sugar
Add flour to the bowl of a mixer. Add the yeast and sugar and mix gently. Add the salt. Form a well in the center and add the eggs, oil, brandy and zest.
Mix slowly and gradually add water or milk. Mix until dough begins to fall off the sides of the bowl.
Cover and let rise for 60-90 minutes, until dough doubles in volume.
Roll out the dough until it’s 1 cm. thick. Cut into small or medium squares.
Heat the oil for deep frying in a pot. When the oil is hot enough, drop a few squares in the oil. They should puff up and float. Fry them for about a minute. Turn over as soon as the first side browns. Fry on second side and then remove and place on paper towels. Continue to fry batches until you’ve used all the dough.
Place the sufganiot in a bowl or serving platter and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Many people refrain from eating chebakia because they’re scared of all the calories. So I decided to create a light version. This way we can all enjoy Hanukkah treats and still watch our weight.
Makes 50 sticks
250 gr. flour, sifted
1 tsp. powdered sugar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup oil
1 tsp. vinegar
1-2 drops rose water
Pinch of baking soda
½-¾ cup water
To help roll out dough: ½ cup corn flour
Oil for deep frying
For syrup:
¼ kg sugar
1 cup water
Juice from 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. silan or honey
In a bowl, add the flour and then gradually add the rest of the ingredients while kneading. Knead until well mixed. Cover and set aside for 25 minutes.
Roll out the dough until it’s ½ cm. thick. Using a sharp knife, cut 1-cm.-wide strips.
Heat the oil for deep frying. Take one strip and twirl it like a corkscrew. Press down ends so that it keeps its shape (it will open a bit while frying) and drop into hot oil. Fry them for a minute or two and then remove and place on paper towels.
Put all the syrup ingredients in a pot – except for the silan – and cook for 25 minutes until syrup becomes rubbery. Add the silan and stir. Let cool a bit and then transfer to one of two jars. Add the chebakia to the jars. Sprinkle the edges that are poking up with powdered sugar.
To make the jar look a little fancier, tie a ribbon around it.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
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