Channukah/Thanksgiving dessert: pumpkin pie filled sufganiot

Sufganiot are delicious jelly donuts, covered in powdered sugar, and traditionally served in Israel for Channukah. They are an analog to the latke here in America, fried in oil to represent the 'great miracle' which happened there. This years epic convergence of a yet-another-Jewish-food-oriented-holiday and American Thanksgiving, our blandest and most flavorless celebration of an imaginary past, left me certain the only dessert I could serve would be pumpkin pie filled sufganiot.

Making them was sort of a circus.


  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 1 ¼ Cups Milk, room temperature
  • ¼ Cup oil, canola or vegetable
  • 1 Large Egg + 2 Egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon Salt (I used dead sea, to honor Judah and his Maccabees)
  • 1 Tablespoons yeast
  • 6 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Grand Marnier

Additionally: 3-4 cups vegetable oil, powdered Sugar, a pastry bag, a candy thermometer and your favorite pumpkin pie filling are needed.

We used a stand-up mixer to first whisk the milk, oil, egg products, salt, yeast, sugar, vanilla and Grand Marnier together. Then slowly added the first 3 ½ cups of flour, switching to the dough hook when appropriate. We added flour from the remaining half cup until the consistency was elastic and kneaded with the blender at slow to medium speeds until smooth. We both remarked that never having seen raw donut dough before, this is pretty much what we'd expect. It was beautiful.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled covered bowl or plastic bag and refrigerate for 4-5 hours. It should rise quite a bit. Our ball doubled and also stuck a bit to the bag, it was still a bit wet. While the dough is rising, make and cool your favorite pumpkin pie filling. I suggest something very pureed (this was not) as you'll be squirting it in with a pastry bag (or just spooning it in, if you want to avoid the high-pressure-pie-hose and resultant explosion.)

I really, really highly suggest a candy thermometer. Temperature control of the hot oil is really important. Heat your oil in a medium sized pan up to 350F. Make small, ping-pong-ball sized balls of dough, fry them. I suggest playing with one donut at a time, frying each side (they'll float and need turning, you'll see) until golden brown. Temperature control and timing are critical for getting the centers cooked but not over cooking the crust. A stainless slotted spoon is also super helpful. Naturally, it took me a while to find a way to mount the very, very simple thermometer to my pot and burnt a few while leaving their centers gooey.

When your donuts are cooled on a rack, its time to use a paring knife to create small pockets in the center of the sufganiot and fill with pie. I used a pastry bag to create a high pressure, pie injecting mess but worked to good result. I suspect a spoon and a slightly larger opening would be as effective.

Serve sprinkled in powdered sugar. They were regarded as "surprising" and "delicious."

Thanks for making these with me, Mouse!