Sufganiyot: Jelly Donuts

I eat jelly donuts... because I love jelly donuts


Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days during the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over pagan Syrian-Greeks in 165 BCE. Legend has it that the victors had only enough oil for one day but, miraculously, it lasted eight days. The Jewish menorah commemorates this. My father, who held all religious symbols suspect, would often quip as to what kind of oil they were using: was it Progresso olive oil or Goya? Be it as it may, since oil is the cornerstone of the holiday, fried foods are often served during this time, the most popular being latkes, or potato pancakes. But one of my favorite treats at Hanukkah is sufganiyot, or jelly-filled donuts.

Jelly-filled donuts have an interesting history. They are variously called Berliners by Germans and paczki by Poles. No one really knows where or how they originated. Although some trace it to a 1485 cookbook, Kuchenmeisterei (Mastery of the Kitchen), which gives a recipe consisting of jam sandwiched between two rounds of yeast dough bread and deep-fried in lard. Then, sometime later, someone got the idea of injecting jelly into deep-fried donuts. In the upper Midwest, jelly donuts are called "jam busters, and are extremely popular. If you're fan of any kind of donut, these suckers are delicious.


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