Chatting with Rotem about sufganiyot (donuts!)

So you’ve been practicing your challah making skills have you? Ready for a new challenge? In preparation for Hanukkah in July, we sat down with Rotem to talk about a delicious Hanukkah tradition – donuts!

(MJL) We’ll start with an easy one, what is your favorite food?

(RG) I love simple food!

(MJL) Why did you decide to become a chef?

(RG) I love to cook food that takes me back home to my mom’s kitchen. To cook for people makes my so happy! To know that people are having Shabbat with my food, and with the challah that I baked for them, is the best feeling ever!

(MJL) What memories does this recipe tap Into for you?

(RG) I started making this recipe when my kids were little. I wanted them to have the memories of the food that we eat only in Hanukkah (as a kid I was always waiting to eat the sufganiyot) I wanted them to know that Hanukkah is not about the gift, it is about Lighting the candles together, playing games and eating the special food that we eat only at Hanukkah.

(MJL) What’s your favorite donut filling?

(RG) I love the simple filling! Some strawberry jam inside and a lot of powder sugar on top.

(MJL) Is there a modern miracle you recently experienced or are wishing for?

(RG) I think my modern miracle is what I’m doing now…To cook for so many families at this crazy time is my miracle!

(MJL) What does “My Jewish Life” mean to you?

(RG) My Jewish life for me is all about tradition and family! I want to continue giving my kids the traditional that my husband and I grew up on. Yes, it’s a lot about the food too, but not only! I want them to enjoy every holiday and understand why celebrating them is so important.

Rotem’s Sufganiyot


For 20:
3 cups flour
1 tablespoons of yeast
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons brandy (optional)
1 teaspoon grated orange peel or lemon
1-3 / 4 cup water
Canola oil for frying

  1. Place the flour in a mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar, mix lightly and add salt.
  2. Make a hole in the center and place eggs, oil, cognac/brandy and orange peel in it.
  3. Stir slowly and gradually add water. Pour until a uniform dough is cut off from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour, until the dough doubles in volume.
  5. Roll the dough on a floured surface to a thickness of 1 cm (a little less than half an inch). Cut circles into dough with a small glass, shape into balls and leave to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes, until the donuts double in volume.
  6. Heat oil for deep frying
  7. Slide some donuts into the oil, with the “top” going into the oil first (the top in terms of when it was just sitting there rising).
  8. Cover the pot and fry for about a minute.
  9. Remove the lid, fry for another minute and turn the donut – to get the white stripe around.
  10. Remove and place on paper towels
  11. Let the donuts cool for 5 minutes
  12. Fill with jam using a cooking syringe or with a pastry bag fitted with a metal circle tip and sprinkle all over powdered sugar!
We want to thank Rotem for taking the time to chat with us. Happy Hanukkah!

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