Does anybody not like donuts? Israelis are just as fond of them as anyone else, and we specialize in jelly donuts. My kids learned to make a baking powder variety in grade school, under the teacher’s supervision, naturally. How proud they were to bring home a greasy little hand-made tidbit, and how they beamed when I bravely swallowed it down. Luckily, they don’t remember much about those childish attempts at doughnut making, because the real, delightfully light thing, filled with jam or caramel, is way beyond in sticky deliciousness.
Donuts aren’t really hard to make. It takes a little time, but the recipe is no more complicated than standard bread, and cutting the circles to fry is fun. Get the kids to do it. You’ll need a thin-stemmed funnel or pastry bag fitted with a No. 4 tip to fill them with your choice of jam. If you prefer lemon curd or some caramel sauce (dulce de leche) as filling, use that, by all means. Israeli bakeries use a cheap red jam to fill their doughnuts, but while a red jelly is visually attractive, just go ahead and use whichever flavor jelly you like best.
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 cup warm water or milk
- ⅓ cup margarine or butter
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 4-5 cups flour
- Strawberry or raspberry jelly
- Powdered sugar
- Using a large bowl, mix yeast into water or milk. Add sugar. Let the yeast dissolve over 10 minutes.
- Melt the margarine or butter. Stir it into the yeast mixture.
- Mix in the egg yolks and salt. Add flour by the cupful, mixing with a spoon at first, then kneading it gently by hand to obtain a soft dough.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise 1-1/2 hours at room temperature.
- Roll the dough 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Using a biscuit cutter or glass 2 1/2” in diameter, cut circles out of it. Gather up any scraps, re-roll them, and cut as many circles as you can out of it. Let circles rise 1/2 hour.
- Use a spatula to lift the dough circles off the work surface and slide them into the hot oil. Don’t crowd them. Deep fry the circles at 400° F (200° C) for about 3 minutes, turning once. Keep a sharp eye on the doughnuts; they will burn in a second if left in the hot oil too long.
- Remove the fried donuts from the oil and set to drain on a baking tray covered with paper towels.
- Use a wooden skewer, the thin end of a chopstick or a toothpick to poke a hole in one side of each doughnut. Pipe 2 teaspoons of jelly in, or as much as each donut will take. Roll each donut in powdered sugar.