These days sufganiyot (Hannukah doughnuts) come in just about every flavor on the market. You can find them stuffed with nutella, traditional jelly, and even oreo! They come in every sweet variety, but what about savory?
I lived in Philadelphia the summer after graduating college while interning at the National Museum of American Jewish History. I was away from home for only ten weeks, and in this time pretty much all of my family came to visit Philadelphia.
When my grandparents visited, we were able to snag a reservation at Abe Fisher, a modern American Jewish fusion restaurant, by the famous chef Michael Solomonov. We sat down at the table and immediately, the server came over with complementary rugelach for the table. He quickly explained that these were not your grandmother’s rugelach (quite awkward when you’re at dinner with said grandmother). They were two variations of a savory rugelach, and while I don’t remember exactly what each one was filled with, this rugelach was the inspiration for my savory sufganiyot!
These savory sufganiyot are filled with a dill pickle cream cheese and topped with everything but the bagel seasoning. They will remind you of those lunches at your favorite local deli, and are fired to celebrate the miracle of Hannukah!
3 Teaspoons instant yeast
1 Cup warm water
¾ Cup sugar
1 Teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup margarine or butter, melted
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
8 oz cream cheese
2 Tablespoons dill pickle juice
2 dill pickle spears (half a pickle)
½ Teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon salt
Whisk the egg, yeast, water, sugar and butter/margarine together in a large mixing bowl.
flour one cup at a time to yeast mixture. Using a strong spatula to mix at the beginning and using your hands to mix once it gets too difficult with the spatula.
Once the dough is fully mixed, turn onto a floured surface and knead for ten minutes.
Grease a large bowl with spray oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and put in the oven to proof. (Make sure the oven is off!) Proof until the dough is doubled in size about 45 minutes-1 hour.
Once doubled in size, punch down the dough. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to a rectangle of ½ inch thickness.
Using the top of a drinking glass (or a circle cookie cutter), cut out 10 circles. Place the doughnuts on a greased baking sheet and allow to proof for an additional 30 minutes.
Heat about 3 inches of oil in a dutch oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the dough has finished it’s second proof, place three or four doughnuts at a time in the oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side.
Place on a wire rack to allow the excess oil to drain. While the doughnuts cool, make the filling.
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip with a whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Add in the pickle juice, the chopped pickles, the dill, and the salt. Mix until combined.
Spoon the filling into a pastry bag (reservign about ¼ cup), you do not need to put a piping tip on it.
Using a knife, make a hole in the middle of the doughnut and pipe the filling in. once completed for all doughnuts, use the reserved ¼ cup of filling to spread over the top of the doughnuts. If desired, you may dunk the top of the doughnuts in everything but the bagel seasoning.