Cooking Group: Task 2: Latkes and Doughnuts

Hooray for Chanukah! Our new cooking task will be latkes and doughnuts.  Please feel free to share recipes – we’re on the look out for new ones, exotic ones, delicious ones, whatever you have  – you can email me at [email protected] or you can post here in the comment section (if you’re the first commenter it says “no comments” – click on that and you can leave a comment).

The basic recipe for latkes is easy – take a potato (sweet potato or root vegetable of your choice, sometimes zucchini) 2 eggs, add a little flour, a little oil, salt, pepper, maybe parsley or other spices of your choice and then fry it.  The important part is the frying, because once it’s fried, it’s delicious, and it’s almost sure to be a crowd pleaser.  

The above picture is courtesy of Oregon State that grows a lot of potatoes for one of their programs.

Here’s my recipe for regular potato latkes:

  • 8 peeled potatoes
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup oil (optional)
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons of dried parsley
  • 4 tablespoons oil for frying

Grate the potatoes.  I use my food processor – an old roommate (Merry) used to call the food processor the potato grater, because that’s all I ever used it for.  And the truth is, I still don’t use the food processor so much, mostly I chop by hand, until the quantities get too big, then the trusty food processor is paraded out and used happily.  Ok, back to the potatoes – once you grate them, I find there’s a lot of liquid – so I squeeze out the grated potatoes first (I squeeze the liquid down the drain, however, if you would like to make your own potato starch – squeeze the liquid into a bowl, and then let it settle and after the water settles, you will find potato starch left on the bottom, so you can carefully drain off the liquid and you will be left with potato starch that you can use as potato starch – so you can let it dry).  Aliza B. taught me a trick to return some of the potatoes to the food processor and chop them even smaller – this helps the potatoes stick together more and doesn’t require as much flour.  

Add the onion to the potatoes, then the flour and oil and mix.  Then add the eggs, salt and parsley and mix. If there are any additional spices you want, you can add them here – pepper, cumin, tumeric, etc.  

Add oil to a hot frying pan.  

Drop 1/4 cup of the mixture (or drop however big you want the latkes to be) into the oil per latke.  When brown on one side flip the latke and brown on the other side (you can see the edges getting brown and you can take a peek by look at the underside of the latke with a spatula.  This recipe will yield approximately 20 latkes.  I like my latkes with both applesauce and sour cream.  Yum.  Eat them while they are hot (although if I have extra – not all that likely – I also eat them cold in the morning).  

Sufganiyot (Doughnuts)

Martha Stewart has a recipe (and the above picture) for sufganiyot (and called them that – it’s below after Sahra’s reicpe).  

Sahra’s recipe:   

  • 1 T. yeast
  • 2 C. water
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 2 C. flour
  • 1/3 C. oil
  • 1 t. Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • a shake of nutmeg
  • 3-4 C. flour

Combine the yeast, water and sugar and let sit for 2-4 minutes.  You are looking to make sure the yeast is “alive” and not dead (if you see no bubbles after a few minutes, then you have dead yeast and you’re going to have to get new yeast, or else your dough will not rise).  Then add the flour, oil, vanilla and salt to the water mixture and knead the dough until incorporated.  Then let let this dough rise 1 1/2 hrs or until the dough doubles in size. Roll out dough till 1/2 inch high.  Make sure there is a lot of flour on your working surface.  This will allow you to move the doughnuts to the oil easily.  Then cut circles with a cup and let rise 30 min. Fry in vegetable oil for 3 minutes each side. Only fry 3 at a time so the oil’s temperature doesn’t drastically lower.  When you turn the first 3 (after 3 minutes) add the net 3 – so you have 6 in the oil at the same time.  Then shake in a brown paper bag full of powdered sugar to coat the doughnuts.  I am going to look for a recipe for caramel or chocolate filling and in the second post will add my own pictures and these recipes if I find them.  

Martha’s recipe: 

  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for rolling
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups vegetable oil, plus more for bowl
  • 1 cup seedless raspberry jam

Directions

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; add eggs, yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, nutmeg, 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 8 minutes (add more flour if necessary). Place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. 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 2 1/2-inch-round cutter or drinking glass, cut 20 rounds. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise 15 minutes.

In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 370 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, carefully slip 4 rounds into oil. Fry until golden, about 40 seconds. Turn doughnuts over; fry until golden on other side, another 40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Roll in sugar while warm. Fry all dough, and roll in sugar.

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, pipe about 2 teaspoons jam into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

Good luck, enjoy!