I left Israel when I was 10 but my memories of what it was like to grow up there are still incredibly vivid. I loved my homeland, the people, the food, the energy of that place was incredible. The country was only 25 years old when I left. I can remember as far back as my preschool days. I loved going to preschool, you got to sing songs, play with wooden blocks and listen to stories on the record player (pretty much still the perfect day if you swap dough for blocks).
My favourite songs were the festival songs and there are plenty of them but my favourite were the ones we sung at Hanukah. For those who don’t know what Hanukah is, here is the Readers Digest version: It’s a festival celebrating the reclaiming of the holy temple of Jerusalem. Sometime in the second century (give or take a year) a small group of Jewish rebels called the Macabees fought and defeated their oppressors and upon entering the temple, they wanted to light the temple menorah (candelabra) they found a tiny jug which had enough oil to light the menorah for one day, but miraculously it lasted eight days, giving them time to prepare a new batch of holy oil (if only my car was that fuel efficient!). Hence the lighting of candles on the menorah for eight days. The songs of Hanukah are songs of miracles and heroes, and I remember singing them with gusto at my preschool and school Hanukah concerts, I still love singing them. Eating doughnuts was at the top of the list of what I love about Hanukah.
I may not be the queen in the doughnut making department, I am however, the queen of celebrations. I love to celebrate. When my children were little I would have big festival parties.
I didn’t have much money and we lived in a tiny rented semi so we had to transform the driveway into what I called our “entertainment wing”. There was already a corrugated plastic roof (what more could you possibly want?) so all you needed was walls to shield you from the rain and the classy $1 drop sheets from Mitre 10 which got stuck to the poles along the driveway. Did the trick. For Hanukah we would decorate the drive with paper chains which I made from crepe paper, cut out candelabra, oil pots and cut-out candlesticks. I made candle crowns for everyone to wear and I would hand out song sheets and if you wanted to eat you had to sing. (I miss those days).
These doughnuts are fuss free and very straightforward to make. They are delicious, especially when they are warm with yummy strawberry jam oozing out of them. I very rarely make doughnuts (even on Hanukah) because, let’s be honest, no one needs to eat fried dough, pumped with sugar and topped with cream it’s pretty much the most fattening, unhealthy thing I can think of and boy can I put them away…
Wishing you all a very happy Hanukah.
Next, bring on Christmas, another favourite festival I love to celebrate.
My little sister an I lighting the Menorah at my kindy in Israel.
My mum always made us siblings share EVERYTHING. Here i am sharing MY lighting of the menorah, with y little sister at MY daycare (in Israel) Hanukah concert and pretending to be happy about it.
But now I get to share it with you, finally the pay off, happy Hanuka, I hope you enjoy the doughnuts.
500g (2 cups) plain (all purpose flour)
1/3 cup caster sugar
11g (31/2 teaspoons) dry yeast
3 large eggs
50g butter at room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1 litre oil for frying
300mls cream (because with jam, it isn’t fattening enough) with a touch of food colouring
3 tablespoons icing sugar mixture.
In an electric standalone mixer or handheld mixer, whip the cream with icing-sugar mixture.
Add three drops of red food colouring and swirl around with a spoon.
Transfer whipped cream to a bowl and place in the fridge
½ cup icing sugar
Super fine sieve
Place dough ingredients in bowl of a stand alone mixer with a hook attachment.
Set mixer to low speed and work the dough for approx. 10min. You should have a nice smooth dough.
Oil dough and cover bowl in plastic. Set bowl aside somewhere warm, (I usually turn the microwave on for 1 minute to heat it up then place the dough bowl inside) let the dough rise for roughly1 ½ - 2 hours or until it doubles in size.
Place lightly oiled baking paper on your work bench or line a baking tray or two with oiled baking paper and set aside.
On another flat tray, place paper towel to put doughnuts on to absorb the oil when they are ready.
Once dough has risen place dough on your work bench, and using a rolling pin, roll the dough so it’s roughly 1.5cm thick.
Using a round cookie cutter 5 ½ cm in diameter. I cut out a circle by pushing down and twisting.
Place the cut-out dough on the baking paper, cover with a tea towel and let them rise for 45 minutes.
Pour 1 litre oil into a large deep frying pan, heat the oil to 160C (I don’t have a thermometer, but that’s the temp you’re supposed to fry the doughnuts at) so I do Nava’s dough check, I take a little piece of dough and throw it into the oil. If it’s bubbling gently around the dough then the oil is the right temperature but if it’s bubbling like crazy it means the oil is too hot and the doughnuts will cook from the outside but not on the inside (I’m speaking from experience) so turn down the heat!
Using a large slotted spoon, slowly and gently place one doughnut at a time into the frying pan and cook for about 1 & ½ minutes on each side, they should be a golden-brown colour.
Using a large slotted spoon remove doughnuts (one by one) and place on paper towel.
Once the doughnuts have cooled down but are still warm, start to fill with jam.
Using a straw, create a hole in the centre or side of the doughnut simply push the straw down into the doughnut. Using a plastic syringe or a piping bag with a large nozzle attachment fill the hole in the dough with a little bit or a lot of jam, it’s up to you. Repeat the process until the last doughnut. Using a sieve, sprinkle icing sugar on top of the doughnuts.
Once doughnuts have cooled down completely, fill a separate piping bag with whipped cream and flower-shaped nozzle and pipe cream over the jam.