There are two foods that are traditionally eaten by Jews on Chanukah (Hannouca in French): latkes and sufganyot, or jelly-filled donuts. This Chanukah, I had the idea to make a treat that is similar to sufganyot, but is a traditionally eaten in France is at carnaval. In the St. Etienne area, where my husband is from, they are called bugnes (boonye), although you might be more familiar with the term beignets. Whatever you call them, they are delicious, and a perfect treat for chanukah, the holiday of fried food.
I have lightly perfumed them with orange flower water, which I absolutely love, but if you can’t find orange flower, use rum or bit of orange zest instead.
So here is my nod to cross-cultural blending: Bugnes de Hannouca. Note that the dough has to be prepared the day before you plan to use it.
- 4 cups of flour
- 2 packets of granulated yeast
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 10 tbsp butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 tbsp orange flower water (or rum or orange zest)
- 1 tbsp salt
- vegetable oil to fry
- powdered sugar
In a large bowl, place all the dry ingredients and blend. Make a well in the center, and break the eggs into it. In a microwave-safe dish, melt the butter, and then add the water to cool the butter. Add this mixture to the eggs. Then follow with the rest of the wet ingredients.
Mix the dough well with a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature overnight or for 6 or 8 hours. At this point, punch down and work dough in the bowl for 2 or 3 minutes. Re-cover and set aside once again for 6 or 8 hours. Alternatively, the dough can be left in the refrigerator for a day or two. When you’re ready to use, leave out at room temperature for an hour or more.
When you’re ready to fry, add canola or other oil to a heavy, large pot to the depth of about 4 inches. Heat the oil to approximately 320-330 degrees fahrenheit.
Roll out the dough with a floured rolling pin to about 1/4 inch in thickness, and cut in rows. Next, cut across at a diagonal to make slanted squares (parallelograms if I recall my grade school geometry). Any shape is fine, though.
Drop the dough in the oil. Keep a close eye on the donuts, and flip them when they begin to get golden. Don’t wait until they are too brown to flip, or they will easily turn too dark. When both sides are lightly golden, remove and transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
Dust with powdered sugar and serve promptly.