Savory Herb and Cheese Sufganiyot


I've always been more of an hors d'oeuvre person than a dessert person. So, given the choice (if I HAD to choose) of franks-in-blankets or potato puffs versus chocolate cake, it would definitely be the franks-and-potatoes for me.

This does not mean I am immune to dessert and during Hanukkah I do love to get my fill of sufganiyot, especially the tiny fried choux puffs that I make with a bit of sugar and lemon. And also a jelly doughnut or two. Or three.

But, I am who I am, so this year I decided to make savory sufganiyot.

Can that really be a thing?

Anyway, it went over bigtime at my house. I had thought about serving them with a bourbon before dinner, but it got late and we were hungry so we actually ate these as a side dish with some roasted salmon and broccoli. 

Either way, for cocktails or with dinner.

We polished these off.


Herb and Cheese SufganIYot

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mixed herbs, or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • vegetable oil for frying

Place the water and butter in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and salt all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture is well blended and begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in the herbs and cheese. 

Heat about 1-1/2-inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a tiny piece of dough sizzle, drop mounded teaspoons-worth of dough into the pan, cooking about 8 at a time. Move the puffs around using a wooden spoon, for about a minute or until the bottoms are golden brown. Turn the puffs over. Cook another half minute or until golden brown. Lift the puffs out with a large frying basket or other tool onto paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the puffs. When all the puffs have been fried, refry all of them for about one to 1-1/2 minutes, moving them around in the pan with a wooden spoon (alternately, you can fry the puffs, lift them out for 15-20 seconds and put them back in the pan for the second fry, then repeat with the rest).

 Makes about 60



Lemony Doughnut Holes


When I lost my mother’s famous doughnut recipe I knew things were not going to be happy in our household. She made those doughnuts every year and they were the most fabulous, light, un-greasy puffy pastries you ever ate. Which is why I took the  recipe from her collection one day when I was about 15 in order to make them on my own.

I guess I threw the recipe out when I was cleaning up because we never saw it again. I have no idea whether my doughnuts were good or not because the recipe thing took over that day (with reminders every year at Hanukkah time) and the fact that I was careless and so on and so on.

I tried mightily to find a new recipe, but never found “THE” one and, you know, memories of food have a life of their own. No recipe would ever measure up.

So, life went on. My mother never made doughnuts again but I did, always trying to reconstruct that perfect one. 

I haven’t made raised doughnuts in years though. Sometimes I make the cake kind, that doesn’t need yeast — I’ll post a recipe here for that.

But my favorite Hanukkah doughnut is a very easy recipe that is actually a variation on profiteroles (choux pastry). Only instead of baking the dough, I fry it. I also add lemon peel to give it a refreshing edge. They come out more like doughnut holes.

When you eat them still warm, the cinnamon-sugar clinging to the surface and almost melting into it, it’s a delicious reminder of of the fact that on Hanukkah, we are celebrating.

And while I wish I hadn’t lost my Mom’s raised doughnut recipe, these Lemony Doughnut Holes are sensational. 

Lemony Doughnut Holes

  • 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter cut into chunks
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, measure, then sift
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel
  • 4 large eggs
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • cinnamon sugar

Cook the water and butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the flour and salt all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture is blended and comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat. Let it cool for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the lemon peel. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition and blending ingredients throughly. The dough will be slightly sticky. Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a deep pan or fryer. When the oil reaches about 365 degrees (a small crumb of dough will sizzle immediately) drop small blobs of dough by the tablespoonful into the hot oil, leaving ample space between each. Cook the dough blobs, turning the pieces occasionally, for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until browned. Drain on paper towels. repeat with remaining dough until all is used. Roll the puffs in cinnamon sugar.

Makes about 60