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Jerusalem’s Kadosh sufganiyot: Filled, fried, famed and now in print

Fearing a Hanukkah lockdown, a pair of pastry chefs hastily compiled recipes for the holiday treat into a cookbook

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

A Kadosh sufganiya, or doughnut, this one topped with fresh cream and strawberries, costs NIS 18 and may require an hour-long wait outside the Jerusalem bakery.(courtesy, Asaf Karela)
A Kadosh sufganiya, or doughnut, this one topped with fresh cream and strawberries, costs NIS 18 and may require an hour-long wait outside the Jerusalem bakery.(courtesy, Asaf Karela)

Pastry chef Keren Kadosh usually begins testing her sugar-encrusted, cream-filled and confection-topped sufganiyot the day after the Sukkot holiday, generally in October.

This year, however, the co-owner of a popular downtown Jerusalem bakery called Kadosh had a pandemic panic: What if there is a lockdown over Hanukkah?

It was enough of a possibility that Kadosh and her pastry chef husband, Isack Kadosh, pivoted and, within three weeks, put together a cookbook, “The Kadosh Sufganiyot.”

“We wanted to make sure that sufganiyot would be available to everyone, no matter what happened,” said Kadosh. She owns the landmark bakery with her husband, who is on the job at 4 a.m., kneading dough for his buttery croissants and chocolatey babka (known as krantz cake in Israel).

The cover of ‘The Kadosh Sufganiyot,’ created by the Kadosh owners and pastry chefs for Hanukkah 2020 (Courtesy Asaf Karela)

Though it was Isack Kadosh’s father who opened the bakery in 1967, Keren Kadosh has become Jerusalem’s unofficial sufganiya sugar fairy.

“It’s my favorite holiday,” said Kadosh. “Rosh Hashanah was sad this year, and Sukkot wasn’t the same, and I couldn’t go though another holiday like that.”

So in addition to testing new flavors for the fried holiday treats — she usually makes 50 or so different types of doughnuts — the Kadoshes quickly assembled the cookbook, which is “a kind of sufganiya workshop,” said Kadosh.”We really tried to share our knowledge.”

As they write in the hardcover Hebrew volume, their sufganiyot were really just an excuse for writing the cookbook.

“The Kadosh Sufganiyot” includes one basic dough recipe for the actual doughnut, and then many others for the bakery’s creams, candies and cakes.

“We don’t really believe in recipes,” said Kadosh. “The excuse for the book is the sufganiya and it’s really a good cookbook for the rest of the year.”

The secret to the Kadosh sufganiya, she said, is the light and airy fried dollop of dough that serves as the vehicle for the creams, which include lychee, passionfruit, strawberry, raspberry, cassis, chestnut, pistachio and toffee caramel.

The doughnuts are not oily, explained Kadosh, because each sufganiya is stood on its side, so the oil does not sit in the dough.

Each dough round is also liberally sprinkled with sugar, similar to the Moroccan sfinge, a simple lump of fried dough rolled in powdered sugar that Keren Kadosh says is her favorite kind of Hanukkah doughnut.

In fact, Kadosh said, the sfinge is considered to be the source of the Israeli jelly doughnut that has become as vital to Hanukkah as potato latkes and candle-lighting.

The creams, said Kadosh, are what differentiate Kadosh doughnuts from all the rest.

“If you took a brioche and filled it with cream, it would cost much more than a sufganiya,” she said. “Whoever really tastes our sufganiyot understands the investment, because cream is just so much more worthwhile than jam.”

Keren and Isack Kadosh, the pastry chefs and co-owners of Jerusalem bakery Kadosh, famed for its Hanukkah sufganiyot. (courtesy, Snir Sufgy Guetta)

Any customer hankering after a Kadosh doughnut will have to devote some time to the quest, as there is usually a one-hour-long wait outside the bakery, said Kadosh.

As for flavors, keep an eye out for the new Abu Dhabi sufganiya, filled with cream made with fresh dates imported from the Gulf emirate, in a nod to the recently signed peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates.

The Abu Dhabi sufganiya, created for Hanukkah 2020 by Jerusalem’s Kadosh bakery, filled with cream made from dates imported from the Emirates. (courtesy, Asaf Karela)

The bakery is also celebrating the opening of its new confectionary counter, full of handmade marmalades, marshmallows and truffles — which also decorate this year’s selection of doughnuts.

Those who won’t be making the trip to Kadosh can purchase the cookbook, available online (Hebrew link) for NIS 129 ($40), or attend one of the Kadoshes digital workshops.

But once Hanukkah is over, do not expect to find any of the NIS 18 sufganiyot on the bakery’s glass shelves.

“The day after Hanukkah, there are no more sufganiyot,” said Kadosh. “It’s over and Isack says, ‘That’s it, until next year.'”

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