Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Homemade Jelly Dougnuts

surrenderedsoul reflects on the meaning of Hanukkah, her own family's celebration, and a recipe for Jelly Doughnuts that sound very yummy! Thank you!!

One of the beautiful things about the celebration of Hanukkah (or Chanukah if you prefer) being 8 days and nights long, is it allows you time to focus on family and family activities. Or if you are without a family of your own it allows you to take the time out of every day life to do something different.

Many of those that I know who celebrate this holiday enjoy taking time to make homemade jelly donuts. A tried and true recipe that I have used over the years (as have others that I know) is below:

Jelly Doughnuts

Prep Time:3 hrs
Cook Time: approximately 1 hr
Serves: 12 servings.

4 to 4 1/2 cup white bread flour, plus more for dusting (you can use wheat flour but I have found it makes the donuts VERY heavy)
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 ounce (.6 ounce) cake fresh yeast or 1 envelope dry active yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1 cup lukewarm milk (room temperature milk works fine as well)
2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for dusting
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled (it is important for the melted butter to be cooled before using)
1/2 cup preserves of choice (our family favorite is raspberry preserves, but any flavor you like will work)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Cinnamon and sugar, for rolling doughnuts

In the bowl of a mixer, combine 4 cups flour and salt. Add the yeast. In a small bowl, combine the milk and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add with the remaining milk to the flour. (If using dry yeast, mix the yeast with 2 tablespoons of the milk and 2 tablespoons sugar and let sit until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes and add to the flour.)

Add the eggs and butter to the flour mixture. Begin to mix the ingredients into a soft, but not sticky, dough.

Add a little extra milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Work in extra flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. (You can do this in a mixer fitted with a dough hook.) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Punch down the risen dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few seconds. With a lightly floured rolling pin, gradually roll out the dough to about 1/2-inch thick. When rolling dough, let it rest periodically to relax. Cut out into 3 to 4-inch rounds with a lightly floured biscuit cutter. Re-roll the scraps to make more rounds. Place the doughnuts on lightly floured baking sheets, spacing them apart, and cover lightly with a dry towel. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
Transfer the risen doughnuts to a heavy pot filled 3-inches high with vegetable oil at 350 degrees F. Fry the
doughnuts, a few at a time, until golden and puffed, turning frequently, 5 to 7 minutes.

Lift the doughnuts from the oil using a slotted spoon and roll on a plate lined with granulated sugar and
cinnamon mixed together. Let cool slightly.

fill a pastry bag, fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip with jelly preserves. Insert the tip into the end of each doughnut and pipe approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons preserves into them and serve.

** side note ** it is of course easier to buy bakery fresh jelly donuts, but making them homemade at this holiday has a few benefits. The first is the joy of sharing this baking time with your loved ones. It's fun for kids to help out (well not with the frying part). It also serves as a remembrance of the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days & nights when there was only enough oil for 1 day & night. and it makes the whole house smell yummy.

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