With the holidays in full swing, I’m packing in some serious kitchen hours. If I haven’t replied to your e-mail or comment, trust that it’s because every surface in my apartment is coated in a thick layer of powdered sugar, and I’m knee-deep in containers of fudge, swearing profusely at my candy thermometer and desperately trying to avoid getting buried beneath an avalanche of dirty dishes. As if all the candy and cookies weren’t enough, I’ve also been deep frying. My partner’s family eats jelly doughnuts — or sufganiyot — every Hanukkah, and last weekend we brought along vegan ones for everyone to share. What can I say? I’m a sucker for any celebration that involves doughnuts.
Actually, I used to hate jelly doughnuts. The soft, yeasted bread and the powdered sugar I was into, but that filling? Not a chance. Even as a kid with a sweet tooth the size of my arm, I was repulsed by the gummy, gelatinous red stuff seeping out of doughnuts from America’s most spelling-challenged doughnut chain. What is that “jelly” supposed to taste like, anyway? The color red? It definitely didn’t taste like cherries or raspberries or strawberries or anything I’d ever remotely want to put in my body.
Thankfully, with adulthood (and a little knack in the kitchen) comes great opportunity. I am not a huge jelly fan today – don’t even talk to me about grape jelly – but swap out that cloying, sticky red stuff for some tart, textured raspberry jam and we’re in business.
This recipe is involved and does take some time, though most of it is spent waiting for the dough to rise. The frying goes quickly, and don’t fret if you don’t have a deep fryer! Deep frying in a deep, heavy-bottomed pot with a candy thermometer really isn’t that scary, so long as you’re careful to not introduce any water to the hot oil.
- 2 Tbsp active dry yeast
- ½ c plus 3 Tbsp warm water, separated
- ¼ c plus 1 teaspoon sugar, separated
- 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
- 2.5 c flour
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree or applesauce
- 2 Tbsp vegan margarine, softened and broken into pieces
- 3 c flavorless cooking oil
- 1 c raspberry jam
- In a small bowl, stir together yeast, ½ c warm water, and 1 tsp sugar. Set in a warm, draft-free place for 5-10 minutes or until very foamy.
- In another small bowl, beat together flax and 3 Tbsp warm water. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, nutmeg and salt.
- Create a well in flour mixture. Add pumpkin or applesauce, margarine, flax mixture, and yeast mixture.
- Stir until mixture begins to come together into a ball.
- Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 8-10 minutes, or until it’s smooth and bounces back when poked gently.
- Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic. Place in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until doubled.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough until it’s about ½” thick.
- Using a 2.5-3″ floured cookie cutter or glass, cut out circles until no dough remains.
- Cover circles with a towel and let rise for another 15-20 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat oil — in a deep-fryer or deep, heavy-bottomed pot — to 370 degrees F.*
- Fry doughnuts in small batches (2-3 at a time), cooking each side for 40 seconds (or until golden).
- With a slotted spoon, place cooked doughnuts on a paper towel, paper bag, or metal rack to drain any excess oil while they cool.
- Repeat until all doughnuts have been fried.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large tip with jam.**
- Set aside to cool. While still slightly warm, poke the tip of the pastry bag into the side (or bottom) of the doughnut. (If your pastry tip isn’t particularly pointy, you can use a sharp knife or a toothpick to make a small opening instead.)
- Squeezing pastry bag slowly but firmly, fill doughnut with desired amount of jam.
- Roll filled doughnuts in powdered sugar. If you aren’t patient enough to let them cool most of the way, the powdered sugar will melt and make them less picture perfect, but don’t worry — you can just roll them in sugar again once they’re fully cooled.
- Best eaten the day they are made.