With our Ashkenazi heritage we are most familiar with doughnuts on Chanukah. Of course, doughnut recipes may vary from Poland to Hungary to America, but the general ingredients and methods are mostly indistinguishable.
Other cultures and cuisines also have their versions of fried dough. Some are made with yeast while others use baking powder for lift. Most are covered in sugar before eating.
Beignet is a French term that means bump and it originally meant fritters made with an egg-based pastry. These treats are popular in the southern United States
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup water
1 cup flour
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter or margarine in the water. Remove the pan from the heat.
Add salt and flour, and stir until a sticky batter is formed. The dough can be warm to the touch but should not be hot.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the batter is smooth.
Prepare a cooling rack on a paper towel-lined sheet pan. Heat the oil to 375 F on a deep fry thermometer.
Drop 3-4 heaping teaspoons of dough, into the oil for about 6 minutes. Don't crowd the pot; ensure each beignet has plenty of room to move around. They may flip over by themselves, or you can use a slotted spoon to flip them so they cook evenly on all sides. They are done when they are light, golden brown on each side.
Remove from oil and place on the rack to cool and drain.
Repeat with remaining batter, making sure the oil comes back up to temperature before starting the next batch.
Serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
A sweet crisp pastry made out of dough that has been shaped into thin twisted ribbons, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar—perfect for Chanukah!
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
canola oil, for frying
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Combine the flour, sour cream, egg yolks, honey, and lemon zest in a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on medium-high speed until the dough comes together and begins to pull away from the bowl, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Divide into 2 balls; loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
Roll out each ball on a floured surface into a 12-inch square, about 1/8” thick. Cut each square into 7 strips, then cut each strip crosswise into thirds, giving you 21 rectangles. Both halves of the dough will give you 42 rectangles.
One at a time, make a 1-inch slit lengthwise down the center of each rectangle; lift a short end and thread it through the slit, then pull out; twist in the middle so it looks like a bow.
Heat about 3 inches of oil in a 6 quart pot over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.
Fry 5 to 7 fritters at a time, turning, until deep golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Toss in the confectioners' sugar. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
This Italian version contains ricotta cheese but you can use creamed cottage cheese if you prefer. Yes, it’s dairy—and worth every bite!
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting
2 quarts canola oil for frying
In a medium saucepan, combine the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Stir in the eggs, ricotta cheese and vanilla. Mix gently over low heat until combined. Batter will be sticky.
Heat 3” oil in a deep 6 quart stockpot until it reaches 365 degrees F on a deep fry thermometer.
Drop by tablespoons into the hot oil a few at a time. Zeppole will flip over by themselves. Fry until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove from oil and allow temperature to return to 365 F. Repeat with remaining batter.
Drain on a cooling rack placed over a paper towel-lined sheet pan.