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Donuts Like You’ve Never Had Before: Greek-Jewish Loukoumades

Indulge in the sweet fusion of Greek and Jewish traditions with this Hanukkah twist

By Breaking Matzo

Published Nov 21, 2022

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With this recipe, we celebrate the centuries-long culinary traditions of Greek Jews. Loukoumades (greek donuts with honey) is a popular Greek fried-dough pastry. Greek Jews often call this classic Greek pastry Zvingous or Zvingoi and make them for Hanukkah.

Whatever they are called, and wherever they are made, these donuts are delightful treats made from deep-fried dough coated with honey syrup. They differ from Sufaganiyot in that the dough rises only once. The dough is a bit sticky, but they are quicker to make. And you can infuse the honey syrup with your favorite flavorings. We used orange juice as well as rose water. Both delicious!

Ingredients:

Donuts:
1 packet active dry yeast (approximately 2 1/4 tsp)
3/4 cup water + 2 tbsp warm water to activate yeast
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
pinch of salt
vegetable oil for frying

Honey Syrup:
1 cup honey
1 cup water
1 tbsp rose water or orange juice

Toppings:
chopped pistachios
chopped walnuts

Directions:

Honey syrup:

  1. Heat the honey and water until it is well combined.
  2. Take off heat and stir in the rose water or orange juice.
  3. Set aside.

Dough:

  1. Pour contents of yeast packet into a bowl and mix in 2 tbsp warm water.
  2. Let yeast activate for about 10 minutes. Small bubbles should form.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, egg and salt with a wooden spoon or whisk.
  4. Add the activated yeast.
  5. Slowly pour in the 3/4 cup water until a sticky dough forms.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for an hour.

Frying the donuts:

  1. Heat a deep, heavy pot filled 3″ high with vegetable oil to 350º
  2. Wet your hands and dip a large spoon in oil and spoon out some dough into your hands
  3. It’s tricky but try to form the dough into a round then carefully lower into the oil. If they come out in more of a fritter shape, don’t worry. They will still taste delicious. You can also lightly oil a medium-sized cookie scoop (1-3/4″ diameter) and gently release the dough from the scoop into the oil
  4. Move the dough around in the oil with a slotted spoon until the donuts are lightly brown on all sides
  5. Carefully remove from oil with slotted spoon and immediately lower into your Honey Syrup. Coat generously and place on serving platter or roll them in your favorite nuts. We love pistachios and walnuts
  6. Eat immediately. They taste best warm.

This recipe was originally featured on BreakingMatzo.com. 

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Breaking Matzo is an online resource to help you create lasting memories around your Jewish Home Holidays.

Reflections

Donuts, donuts everywhere

Many cultures have donut (or donut-like) sweat treats for celebratory occasions, or simply different names for them. How many can you name?

Conserving our oil

As we light the Menorah and recall the Miracle of the Oil, we have an opportunity to think carefully about the precious and limited natural resources of our planet. What is one practical action you can take to help preserve or re-new the great “temple” that is our planet by making the most of limited resources?

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