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Israeli Donuts (Sufganiyot)

Israeli Donuts (Sufganiyot)
At Hanukkah we make these jam-filled delights every day!

(Makes about 20)

2 Tbs. dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
6 cups flour
4 eggs
8 Tbs. sugar
3 vanilla beans, scraped, with the seeds reserved
Zest of 1 orange
6 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. rum
1/4 Tsp. salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Strawberry jam for filling
Powdered sugar for sprinkling

In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.

Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add to it the eggs, yeast mixture, sugar, scraped vanilla beans and seeds, orange zest, oil, rum and salt.

Using a wooden spoon, stir until a sticky dough forms.

On a well-floured work surface, knead until dough is smooth, soft, and bounces back when poked with a finger, about 10 minutes (add more flour if necessary).

Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness.

Using a round cutter or drinking glass, cut into rounds.

Cover the rounds with plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 370 degrees. Have a saucepan cover handy.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully slip 4 rounds into oil.

Cover and fry until golden, about 40 seconds to 1 minute. Uncover.

Turn doughnuts over, cover pan again and fry until golden on other side, another minute.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet.

Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, 4 at a time.

Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a #4 tip, with jam.

Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut.

Fit the pastry tip into a hole and pipe about 2 teaspoons jam into each doughnut.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve warm.

Cooks note: It is very important not to fry the doughnuts in oil that is too hot, or they will be cooked from the outside and remain doughy inside.

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