Seasonal sufganiyot

Noggin’ on heaven’s door: Holiday-themed donuts

Eggnog spices and rum will have you reaching for these fried treats all eight nights

Eggnog Donuts (Shannon Sarna/via JTA)
Eggnog Donuts (Shannon Sarna/via JTA)

The Nosher via JTA — It’s sufganiyot season, and there are few things that make me as enthralled as legitimate, cultural/religious reasons to eat copious amounts of freshly fried doughnuts.

Sufganiyot are traditionally round fried donuts filled with raspberry jam and dusted with powdered sugar. But in Israel, much like here in the States, beautiful, diverse flavors increasingly take over in abundance each year. I love seeing photos from friends in Israel chronicling the beautiful displays of sufganiyot.

This year, Christmas and Hanukkah fall on the same nights, and so of course I wanted to mash-up the holidays and celebrate with one glorious, spiced hybrid: eggnog donuts. I added dark, sweet rum to the glaze, but of course you can leave it off and just use store-bought eggnog. Or even plain milk.

For the dough:
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Vegetable oil for frying

Plain ole jelly donuts are also acceptable for Hanukkah. (photo credit: Liron Almog/FLASH90)
Plain ole jelly donuts are also acceptable for Hanukkah. (photo credit: Liron Almog/FLASH90)

Special equipment: wooden skewer, piping bag, round piping tip

For the glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons dark rum (optional)
2-3 tablespoons eggnog

For the filling:
1 package vanilla pudding mix

Prepare the vanilla pudding according to directions on the box. Place in refrigerator to set and chill.

To make the dough: In a small bowl combine yeast and warm water. Sprinkle sugar on top and mix lightly. Allow to sit until foamy, around 10 minutes.

When yeast mixture is ready, in a large bowl combine it with flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, eggs and butter, using a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms.

On a floured surface, knead dough until it is smooth, shiny and bounces back when touched, around 8 to 10 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl and allow to rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

To assemble:
On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cutter or glass, cut rounds. You may have to roll out the dough a few times. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise another 20 to 25 minutes.

Heat oil in a pot on medium heat until a thermometer measures 370 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, raise the heat to low-medium heat and test one of the doughnuts. If the oil immediately starts bubbling and the doughnut begins browning, it is the right temperature. If it doesn’t bubble at all, heat needs to be higher. If the oil splatters or the doughnut starts browning too quickly, heat needs to be turned down.

Using a slotted spoon, place 3 to 4 donuts into the oil. Allow to fry on each side, around 40 seconds or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place onto a plate lined with paper towel. Once excess oil has been removed, place doughnuts on a drying rack to cool.

When all the doughnuts have been fried and cooled, begin to fill.

Fill pastry bag with prepared vanilla pudding. If you don’t have a tip, you can just snip the corner of the pastry bag with a scissor.

Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut. Fit the pastry tip into a hole, pipe about 2 to 3 tablespoons worth of pudding in each doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

In a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners sugar, rum, if using, nutmeg and 2 tablespoons eggnog. If the glaze is too thick, add additional eggnog, 1 teaspoon at a time. Dip each doughnut in the eggnog glaze. Allow to set.

Fresh doughnuts are best eaten the same day they are fried.

Shannon Sarna is the editor of The Nosher.

The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at

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