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Holiday desserts: Sufganiyot doughnuts a celebration of Jewish heritage

Chaya Korf, a member of Chabad Jewish Center of Greater St. Petersburg, cuts out dough as she prepares Sufganiyot in her kitchen. The jam filled yeast doughnuts are served during Hanukkah.
Published Dec. 1, 2015

Chaya Korf, whose husband Alter Korf is the rabbi at the Chabad Jewish Center of Greater St. Petersburg, shares a traditional Jewish recipe typically made during the celebration of Hanukkah.

"This dessert is something that been part of our tradition for many, many years," she says. "As a kid I remember eating them."

The recipe is for Sufganiyot, which is a round jelly doughnut that is deep-fried. They are popular in Israel. (Chaya says a well-known bakery in Jerusalem can produce more than 200,000 of these each day during the month leading up to Hanukkah.)

Hannukah, which starts Sunday this year and also is called the Festival of Lights, is a celebration of the one vial of oil that miraculously lit the ancient temple in Jerusalem for eight nights.

"Because of that, we eat desserts that are fried or made in oil for the holiday," Chaya says. She makes this dessert on the holiday each year for her family, and also makes many to share with friends.

As a child, she remembers eating them with strawberry jelly, her personal favorite.

"My family has always made Sufganiyot," Chaya says.

"I have fond memories of the failed recipes, as well as the ones that worked out."

She says the act of making them each year with her children helps create special memories for them. The whole family gets involved in the process. Chaya's kids love this treat with a chocolate glaze on top, and sometimes sprinkles.

"It is very customizable" she says. "Whatever is good."

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