Suvganiyot (Hannukah doughnuts)
This is an old recipe that's been honed to perfection. It feeds about four people who are eating nothing else for dinner. Last night I made a triple recipe, but about five people we expected didn't come, so I dumped the left-over donut batter into a greased cake pan and baked it - it became a lovely loaf of orange yeast bread which I cut up and sent home with the guests. No waste! Except for all that oil...
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate (do not dilute)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons oil
around 2 cups flour (or a little less)
Mix first four ingredients and stir fifty times to make a "sponge." Let rise in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel for an hour or more (more is better).
Add the rest of the ingredients and beat vigorously. This makes a very wet dough. Do not fear: you will not be rolling it out. Wet is good. Let it rise for another hour or more.
Heat two quarts of cooking oil (have a little more at the ready just in case) to 350 degrees in an electric frying pan or deep-fat fryer. Tear up some brown paper bags on which you'll drain the donuts.
Make cinnamon sugar (about a cup of confectioners sugar and as much cinnamon as your crew likes). Put it in a medium-sized paper bag. If your bag has holes in it you're going to be sorry.
OK, time to begin. With a big spoon dip out some of your gooey dough and drop it into the hot oil. It will behave like spider man, stretching all over the place. Make weird shapes, it's fun. Don't make the doughnuts too big or they won't cook well in the middle. Don't crowd the frying pan or the temperature will get too low.
The doughnuts will soon bob up to the surface and you'll want to turn them over fairly soon, using a slotted spoon or tongs. You'll turn them several times before they're done - which is when they are a pretty dark brown on both sides. Try one and see.
As some get taken out of the pan, put in more. Don't crowd them.
Drain them on the paper bags. When they're somewhat cooled, pop them into the cinnamon sugar bag and shake. Put on a plate or directly into the mouths of the avidly waiting consumers.
Do NOT make these unless you have a lot of people around to eat them - and to help you clean up. Makes 28 doughnuts, enough for four people who are eating nothing else for dinner or 6 people who are only moderately piggy.