Last week, Instagram reminded me of wonderful sufganiot I made a year ago. Pistachio sufganiot filled with homemade pistachio spread. At the time I was planning to upload a recipe, but I couldn’t finish it in time. This year I didn’t give up. Somehow, after a long day of experimenting with different combinations of ingredients — making dough, letting it rise, rolling it out and endless frying — I landed upon the perfect recipe.

My search for the perfect pistachio sufganiot recipe was long, but I didn’t go through it alone. Reut came to help me out and tried to convince me that cinnamon in the dough itself would be much tastier. Lucky enough, her mom Liz and her sister Naama came by and agreed with me. Cinnamon doesn’t really work here like it works in Swedish donuts.

Ari dropped by for a short visit on his way to some errand and it reminded me of the Grand Marnier I inherited from him not long ago. I actually didn’t want to put alcohol in my sufganiot. But after several failed attempts I discovered that alcohol lets the dough rise better while frying due to its rapid evaporation. So I added a bit of alcohol, and then some. Grand Marnier is an orange flavored liqueur and I think it goes hand in hand with the lemon zest in the dough.

So I got puffy, drunken pistachio sufganiot, but not yet perfect. I kept testing. Along the way, more friends came to visit. Ayehlet, Naomi and even Miriam who was visiting from the US. Everyone was impressed by the sufganiot assembly line.

Little by little the sufganiot started to take on a nice round shape and even had a white stripe around them. Only around midnight, on my seventh try, I reached salvation. Naomi, who stayed with me till the sweet end, was rewarded with fresh, hot sufganiot full of pistachio goodness.

Cutting out dough circles
Rising dough
Brushing with melted butter
Filling sufganiot
Lemon pistachio sufganiot

Dough
450 g flour
50 g sugar
9 g instant dry yeast
(3 tsp)*
Zest of 1 lemon
60 g eggs
(1L)
½ tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur
**
180 g lukewarm milk
(¾ cup)
6 g salt (1 tsp)
50 g soft butter
(cut into cubes)

For frying
1 L canola oil

Filling
220 g pistachio spread (prepare a day ahead)

Topping
30 g butter
50 g shelled pistachios
(roasted or not, according to taste)

Equipment
Thermometer
Small pot
Round cookie cutter, 6 cm in diameter
Perforated spatula
Pastry bag fitted with a smooth 8 mm piping tip
Parchment paper cut into squares
(about 7×7 cm)
Brush

* Can substitute with 27 g fresh yeast.
** Can substitute with Brandi, rum or any other liqueur.


The recipe makes about 12-14 pistachio sufganiot


Dough

Weigh all ingredients in advance. If the milk is cold, warm it up for a minute or two on low heat. If the butter is cold, soften it in the microwave in 5-second pulses. Lightly grease a big bowl and set it aside.

Put flour, sugar and yeast in the mixer bowl. Whisk until uniform. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn it on, on low speed.

Add lemon zest, eggs, lemon juice, liqueur, lukewarm milk and keep mixing for about 2 minutes until the flour is almost incorporated in the dough.

Add salt and butter and increase the mixer speed to low-medium. Keep kneading for about 8 more minutes, until the dough is soft and flexible.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form it into a smooth ball. Transfer the dough to the greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Keep it in a warm place and let the dough rise for about an hour and a half to two hours. It should double in size. (I just turn on the AC on 28-30 °C / 82-86 °F and place the bowl near it.)

Lightly flour the work surface. Remove the puffed dough from the bowl and place it on the surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1.5-2 cm, not more and not less. Using a round cookie cutter, cut out circles from the dough as close to each other as possible.

Place each dough circle on a square parchment paper and transfer it onto a baking tray. Combine the remainder of the dough by kneading it just a little. Roll it out and cut out more dough circles.

Cover the dough circles with a clean kitchen towel. Let them rise for about 40-60 minutes at a warm temperature, until they double in size.

Fill a small pot with canola oil. The oil must be at least 5 cm deep. Heat it on high heat to a temperature of 170 °C / 340 °F. Lower the flame and get ready for the next step.

Lift a dough circle along with its parchment paper and flip it over above the hot oil carefully (!) so it plunges head first into the oil. Carefully remove the parchment paper.

Fry the dough for about a minute and a half. Using a perforated spatula, flip the dough and fry it for another minute to minute and a half on its other side (about 2-3 minutes frying in total).

The first 2-3 sufganiot won’t come out nicely, so first use the dough that went through additional kneading and processing. Remove the sufganiot from the oil and let the excess oil drip back into the pot. Place the sufganiot on a paper towel to absorb the oil.

Fry the rest of the dough, 2-3 sufganiot at a time. Keep the temperature relatively set at 170 °C / 340 °F by increasing or lowering the flame beneath the pot. Cool the sufganiot at room temperature before filling them.

Filling

The day before, prepare the pistachio spread according to this recipe. Fit a pastry bag with a smooth 8 mm tip and fill it with the pistachio spread. Keep it in room temperature until the sufganiot are ready.

Topping and assembling

In a food processor, grind pistachios to a powder (If you prefer roasted pistachios, roast them first for about 7 minutes on 160 ° C / 320 ° F, let them chill at room temperature and only then grind them). Transfer the ground pistachios to a small bowl.

Melt the butter. Using a brush, spread a thin layer of melted butter on top of the sufganiot. Dip the top of each one in the ground pistachios. Cut a small opening on the top of the sufganiot by sticking a sharp knife in the top and reaching only to the center.

Stick the piping tip inside the sufganiot from the top and fill them with pistachio spread. Fill about 15 g pistachio spread in each one. How to do that? Place one of the sufganiot on a scale, reset the scale, fill it with the spread and check if it gained proper weight.

To finish, pipe a little mound of pistachio spread on top of the hole and serve. These pistachio sufganiot don’t keep for too long, so you better eat them the day they’re made.

Pistachio sufganiot
Yum

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