Every year at Hanukkah we eat an abundance of fried foods. We say we do this to commemorate the miracle of the oil. Hmmm… I think it is a just a great excuse to eat all the yummy fried foods we try so hard to avoid throughout the year. I mean who wouldn’t want to eat fried latkes, fried doughnuts and anything else fried?
Having said that, the jelly donuts we usually get at our local shop are a little too big, too oily and too filled with artificial jelly. So, this year I am making a version of my own. My recipe will be based on an Italian donut called Zeppole. Since they are more donut hole sized, it’s easier to say yes to the kids and to my waistline. Because we are making them at home, I can fill them with not only, better quality jam or jelly (think Bonne Marman), but I can also fill them with anything I want, like Nutella. I can also dip them in chocolate or sprinkle them with sugar and/or cinnamon. They are super easy too!
The trick to making sure they are not doughy on the inside or overdone on the outside is your oil temperature. You can use a candy thermometer for a little insurance. You want to keep the oil at 375°. Be sure to check the temperature especially between batches and keep your batches small. After making these, I honestly recommend a deep fryer that you can set the temperature. It can be difficult to manage the temperature as you are trying to scoop dough and then fry, too. Sprinkle them with sugar or cinnamon when they first come out of the oil. This way it sticks to the donuts.
I use a pastry bag to fill the donuts. The easiest way to do this is, once they are cool enough to handle, make an X in the top that goes almost all the way through. Then use a plain tip and pastry bag to squeeze in your desired filling, just don’t go crazy.
They look so pretty stacked on a festive plate and sprinkled with a fine dusting of powdered sugar.