When Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden in a hurry, they hadn’t thought of packing a lunch box. Supposedly, He Who had kicked them out, sent them a comfort parcel with a dozen hole-less doughnuts filled with jam. Yum!
The Hebrew word for doughnut, sufgania, is here presented as an abbreviation of “The end of the Garden of G-d” (sof-gan-yud-hey). It’s a folk tale not supported by any evidence, but it shows how holy the hole-less doughnuts are considered in Israel. Forget latkes; in Israel, sufganiya equals Chanukkah! The idea is the same: to commemorate the miracle of the oil (for explanation, please see But Hannah Did Not Have Potatoes!). However, already in 12th century, Rabbi Maimon ben Yosef, Rambam’s father, wrote: “One must not make light of the custom of eating sofganim [fried fritters] on Chanukkah. It is a custom of the Kadmonim [the ancient ones].” I doubt that Rabbi Maimon’s fritters looked the same as modern sufganiyot, though, because the food historian Gil Marks definitively dates the first modern sufganiya to 1485, when a recipe was published in what was, perhaps, the very first cookbook printed on Johannes Gutenberg’s original printing press.
How did these German / Polish ponciki adapted by Jews for Chanukkah move to Israel? It is not certain, but in his book Eat and Be Satisfied: A Social History of Jewish Food, historian John Cooper makes an educated guess that the doughnut recipe was brought by the European (German, Polish, and Ukrainian) Jews who arrived in Israel after fleeing Hitler’s Germany. (https://www.ou.org/)
I am not making sufganiyot this year, so I am turning this post over to a phenomenal blogger Simple to Wow who came up with a great recipe:
I like to stay close to the latest trends in cooking and design. One trendy and helpful technique in preparing dough is to use a zipper bag for preparing and kneading the dough. It is a great idea for most dough and really reduces the cleanup. Best of all, since the zipper bag can be discarded after use, this simple dough technique virtually eliminates those nasty dough-covered utensils and sponges that are so difficult to clean.
The ziploc bag eliminates the dusty mess of flour and allows all the dough crumbles to remain in the disposable ziploc bags. Since the sufganiot in this recipe are amorphous and just dropped into oil, the ziploc bag can even be used to dispense the doughnuts right into the frying pan.
I have adapted my favorite sufganiot recipe to use the ziploc bag. I have tried it and it is just perfect!
1/2 cup warm water
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 cup flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
Olive oil, for frying
Powdered sugar (optional)
large zipper bag (1-2 gallon)
Happy and joyous Chanukkah – enjoy!