As Hanukkah approaches, there are valiant efforts made to single out the country’s best sufganiya, jam or cream-filled fried doughnuts that are as synonymous with the holiday as lighting the menorah and playing dreidel.
But one food innovator is turning the sufganiya on its axis, with a popsicle version of the fried pastry.
Naomi Zysblat, the creator of Paletas, all-natural popsicles based on the icy Mexican treat, recently rolled out the Sufganyeta, a popsicle made from milk with the flavor of a jelly doughnut, and filled with homemade strawberry jam.
The Sufganyeta was actually introduced last year, said Zysblat, but this year, she perfected the recipe in time for the winter holiday.
The idea came from a cereal milk ice cream flavor she once tasted at New York City’s Milk Bar. The ice cream got Zysblat thinking about creating a flavor that would taste like a jelly doughnut without the bright red artificial filling.
The Sufganyeta is filled with jam made from strawberries cooked “for hours and hours,” said Zysblat, with raspberries added to make it “more pink and shiny.”
The outer layer of the Sufganyeta is frozen before the jam is inserted in the center.
Before and during Hanukkah, the Sufganyeta will be available at major outlets carrying Paletas, and or by delivery arranged through the popsicle maker’s website.
The smaller outlets that usually carry Paletas aren’t stocking up as much right now, said Zysblat, since they’re often closed or open only a few hours a week.
“We’re catering to customers privately, getting to more areas that we didn’t get to before,” she said, adding that customers can check the website, Facebook or Instagram in order to find out when Paletas deliveries are being made in their area.
While there’s more competition in the natural popsicle arena that didn’t exist when Zysblat first began her business, vying for customers has its pros and cons.
“Competition does spread the word more and it gives more people the idea about eating a natural popsicle,” said Zysblat. “I don’t like having competitors but it does make us stay on our toes, constantly tasting and tweaking our flavors.”
Prior to Hanukkah and the Sufganyeta, Zysblat is rolling out an all-black, vegan coconut Paleta made with zinc for Black Friday, the global shopping day that arrives on November 27 this year.
“I like having a dark gray as part of our palette,” said Zysblat, who used to offer black sesame Paletas, joining a classic Japanese flavor with her Mexican popsicles.
The black popsicle was an opportunity to play with natural food extracts that are new on the market, said Zysblat. A wide array of fruit and vegetable-based extracts have opened a new avenue of possibilities for Paletas, said Zysblat, who has produced a blueish-purplish hue of Paletas on Yom Ha’atzmaut or shades of the rainbow for Gay Pride Paletas.
The Black Friday, Sufganyeta and other Paletas flavors are available at the Paletas website, which also has a Black Friday deal through November 28.