Vienna’s Jelly Doughnuts & Uri Scheft’s Sufganiyot (Recipe) #Ponchikis #Krapfen

Vienna’s Jelly Doughnuts & Uri Scheft’s Sufganiyot (Recipe) #Krapfen

 

with Viennese jelly doughnut recipe

IN recent years champagne-creme-filled and gold-leaf-topped donuts and sufganiyot have been en vogue. Try these wonderfully homey jelly doughnuts for a change. Though you don’t have to use jelly, apricot jam is the most classic filling in Vienna, as strawberry jam is in Israel. Use any filling you prefer, like vanilla cream, Nutella,1 or even marzipan. Today I’m making some classic Viennese jelly doughnuts with Uri Scheft of New York’s Breads Bakery and of Tel Aviv’s Lehamim Bakery

Krapfen are Viennese doughnuts, delicious little pastries filled with apricot jam. They’re available all year round in Vienna, but traditionally they are carnival fair. Their reach extends far outside of Austria. Marie Antoinette introduced these Austro-Hungarian jelly doughnuts to the French court.2 They have been adopted in contemporary Israel, where they’re called sufganiyot (singular sufganiyah). They’re eaten on Hanukkah because they are fried in oil.3 Good food tends to travel.

A Viennese jelly doughnut, "Krapfen" dusted with confectioners' sugar and filled with apricot jam.
A Viennese jelly doughnut, “Krapfen” dusted with confectioners’ sugar and filled with apricot jam.

Among the many new cookbooks in autumn 2016, there were three that catered to bakers and anyone with a sweet tooth like mine. There were Dorie Greenspan’s striking, colorful colorful photographs in Dorie’s Cookies, Mark Bittman’s major installment on How to Bake Everythingand then there was the fashionable, magazine-style Breaking Breads – The New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft. The latter features a classic Israeli version of the jelly doughnut.

Measuring out the ingredients for the Viennese jelly doughnuts. Here, the classic Austrian rum Stroh Inländer.
Measuring out the ingredients for the Viennese jelly doughnuts. Here, the classic Austrian rum Stroh Inländer.
Kneading the dough for the Krapfen with the dough hook of a stand mixer.
Kneading the dough for the Krapfen with the dough hook of a stand mixer.

Competition for the most imaginative and unheard-of fillings and toppings for jelly doughnuts is growing tougher every year, especially in Israel around Hanukkah. This craze has even reached the shores – or more precisely, the Danube banks – of the resolutely conservative Austrian pastry shops and bakeries. Yes, over the last couple of years Viennese customers have been presented with a few very unorthodox jelly doughnuts. Though that’s nothing compared to what you can find in Tel Aviv.

12 Viennese Jelly Doughnut "Krapfen" creations by Aida in Vienna (2012)
An ad for 12 Viennese jelly doughnut creations by Aida, the iconic Espresso-Café-Konditorei in Vienna (2012). There’s champagne and “Punsch” (rum), but there’s also a Mozart version filled with marzipan.
Doughnut dough rising in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 hour in a bowl covered with a plate.
Doughnut dough rising in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 hour in a bowl covered with a plate.

Uri Scheft’s pages on jelly doughnuts are an exception to this tendency. Elsewhere we’ve seen everything from of alcohol-creme fillings to salty caramel ones, and a host of vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free versions. But this year even the Israeli newspaper Haaretz voices concerns and calls for a more traditional approach. Returning to the classic jelly doughnut, despite its simple and unassuming ways, might transport you right back to sweet childhood pleasures.

Rolling out the dough for Viennese jelly doughnuts, no more than 1/2 inch (1,25cm) thick.
Rolling out the dough for Viennese jelly doughnuts, no more than 1/2 inch (1,25cm) thick.
Children love to help cut out the dough rounds for the Viennese Krapfen.
Children love to help cut out the dough rounds for the Viennese Krapfen.

So, my family wanted to give Uri Scheft’s recipe a try for one of our annual Hanukkah batches of homemade pontchikes, the Poilish-Yiddish version of jelly doughnuts.4 I’ve made a few little changes to streamline the efficiency of the recipe even further. And, in order to make these sufganiyot into authentic Viennese Krapfen, we’ll use a customary Austrian rum instead of brandy, lemon instead of orange, apricot jelly as the filling and nothing on top but a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

45 minutes of additional rising time for the dough rounds.
45 minutes of additional rising time for the dough rounds.
Frying the Viennese jelly doughnuts at 340°F (170°C).Frying the Viennese jelly doughnuts at 340°F (170°C).
Frying the Viennese jelly doughnuts at 340°F (170°C).

Yes, in reality, the difference between all these jelly doughnuts, whether they’re called bomboloniBerliners, Krapfen, pontchikes or suffganiyot, comes down to only slight variations in size, but often major changes to the filling and the topping. Well, and, as you would expect, Italian bomboloni are made with olive oil5 and some Central- and Eastern-Europeans are frying theirs in schmaltz or lard.

Filling a syringe with apricot jam for the filling of the Krapfen. Alternatively, you can use a piping bag, or simply spoon some jam on top of the doughnut.
Filling a syringe with apricot jam for the filling of the Krapfen. Alternatively, you can use a piping bag, or simply spoon some jam on top of the doughnut.
Dusting the Viennese jelly doughnuts "Krapfen" with confectioners' sugar. Here I overdid it a bit.
Dusting the Viennese jelly doughnuts “Krapfen” with confectioners’ sugar. Here I overdid it a bit.

Still, these jelly doughnuts, though of different geographical origins, are nonetheless so similar that you could simply take any regular jelly doughnut and call it bombolone, Krapfen, Fank (in Hungarian) or whatever you like! So why even bother making these Viennese jelly doughnuts at home? Just buy one and call it Krapfen and be done with it! In fact, the case for

In fact, the case for homemade jelly doughnuts is easily made. Simply put, they will taste better, not least because of the effort it took you to make them. And at home, you don’t have to skimp on the filling. Fill it so you’ll get a bit of apricot jam with every bite. Lastly, and most importantly, if you have children, you should let them cut out the doughnuts. Let them make one of those memories, you yourself got from your own childhood – or wish you would have. And while you’re at it, why not try it the Viennese way, once?

In Vienna, unlike in Israel, it is not customary to put jam on top of a jelly doughnut, only inside.
In Vienna, unlike in Israel, it is not customary to put jam on top of a jelly doughnut, only inside.
Strawberry jam applied on top of a doughnut turns it into an Israeli sufganiyah! The children say this kappl (the <a href="https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kippa" target="_blank" rel="noopener">kippa</a>) makes the Jewish doughnut.
Strawberry jam applied on top of a doughnut turns it into an Israeli sufganiyah! The children say this kappl (the kippa) makes the Jewish doughnut.

And finally, before you start preparing the ingredients for the recipe, enjoy this picture of a jelly doughnut photographed at the Viennese Espresso-Café-Konditorei Aida by photographer Martin Parr. (It appears in Martin Parr’s 2016 book on Vienna, “Cakes & Balls“.)

From Martin Parr's photo book on Vienna, "Cakes &amp; Balls" (Vienna: Anzenberger, 2016). © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos
From Martin Parr’s photo book on Vienna, “Cakes & Balls” (Vienna: Anzenberger, 2016). © Martin Parr/Magnum Photos

 

Recipe: Viennese Jelly Doughnuts (Krapfen)

dough

500g (approx. 4 cups) all-purpose flour (we used white spelt) plus some extra flour for kneading and rolling
12g (3 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
30g (2 Tbsp) warm water, 100-110°F (~40°C)
65g (1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp) granulated sugar
2 US/Canada large (Europe medium) egg yolks (at room temperature)
1 US/Canada large (Europe medium) egg (at room temperature)
120g (1/2 cup) warm whole milk, 100-110°F (~40°C)
generous pinch grated lemon zest
30g (2 Tbsp) fresh lemon juice
15g (1 Tbsp) rum (for an authenticate taste use an Inländer rum like Stroh)
2.5g (1/2 tsp) iodine-free6 table salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
90g (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
2 l (9 cups) canola oil for deep-frying (or more, as needed)

filling

600 g (2 cups) very good apricot jam
2 tsp Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) or juice of 1 lemon

topping

confectioners’ sugar for dusting

  1. Make the dough: Stir together the warm water and the yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. Then add the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer along with the rest of the ingredients except the butter and the flour. Mix on low speed with a dough hook. Add the flour and continue to mix on low speed until everything is well combined, about 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the mixer to medium speed and gradually add the butter. Continue to mix until, after around 5 minutes, the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. (If needed, you may add a bit more flour.) The dough is ready when it looks smooth and shiny and will begin to climb up the dough hook.
  3. Let the dough rise: Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and stretch and fold it over itself a couple of times until it isn’t sticky anymore. Put the dough into a lightly floured bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm and draft-free spot for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
  4. Roll and cut out the dough: Place the dough back on a well-floured surface and roll it out until it is 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. With a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter (or a glass) cut rounds as close as you can to minimize the scraps. Place the dough rounds on a parchment paper lined tray or baking sheet as you go. Press the scraps together and let them rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Then roll them out to cut more doughnuts. You can discard or fry the remaining dough pieces as they are.
  5. Proof the dough rounds: Cover the dough rounds with a warm kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in size and spring back when touched, about 45 minutes. (At this point the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 hours.)
  6. Fry the dough rounds: Fill no more than half of a heavy-bottomed pot (cast-iron is ideal) at least 4 inch (10 cm) deep with oil. Over medium heat, gradually bring the oil to 340°F (170°C). If you do not have a sugar or frying thermometer, use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. Fry covered on the first side for about 1 minute or until golden brown. Turn the pieces of dough over and fry uncovered for another minute or until golden brown. Take care not to overcrowd the pot, as this causes the oil to cool down excessively, which will let the doughnuts absorb oil and make them greasy. Transfer the doughnuts to a rack to drain.
  7. Fill the doughnuts with jelly: In a food processor mix the jam and gradually add the ascorbic acid (or the lemon juice) until smooth and its taste is to your liking. If you like it now, you will like it in the doughnut! Fill the jam into either a piping bag fitted with a round tip and insert the tip into the top of the doughnut, or use a syringe and fill from one side of the doughnut. Squeeze as much jam as you can into the doughnut until it starts to ooze out of the hole. Alternatively, you can simply spoon some jam on the top of each doughnut.

Serve: Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar right before serving. These Vienna-style Krapfen jelly doughnuts are fantastic when still slightly warm!

Further Reading:

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Footnotes

  1. Better try to go with some quality Pasta Gianduja instead of this industrial ersatz.
  2. Claudia Roden in The Book of Jewish Food, p. 197.
  3. According to Wikipedia “The Hebrew word sufganiyah and Arabic word sfenj derive from the words for sponge (sfog, Hebrew: ספוג‎;[2] isfanj, Arabic: إسْفَنْج‎‎).”
  4. Also spelled ponchikes or ponchkes. In Yiddish in some places the word Krapfen is used too.
  5. See for example the recipe for bomboloni ripieni in Edda Servi-Machlin’s The Classic Dolci of the Italian Jews, p.50.
  6. Iodine produces a bitter and metallic taste.
Nino Shaya Loss-Weiss
Hi, I'm Nino, an unbridled foodnik blogging from Vienna, the city of dreams and Sigmund Freud. I'm cooking up a therapy with recipes and stories from Viennese cuisine and its eclectic influences – Jewish, Italian, Hungarian, Bohemian... – with an armchair psychoanalytical twist.

2 Comments

  1. IMPORTANT UPDATE:
    Dear All,
    This first edition of Uri Scheft’s book “Breakig Breads” has mistakes in the recipe, in the measurements (for example the yeast proportions in volume), and in the timing (the frying time is double of what it should be). This led to an unfortunate mix in our notes for our own interpretation of his recipe. A few hours after posting our article, we corrected this with this update of the original post. This updated post now exactly reflects our interpretation of Uri Scheft’s jelly doughnut recipe including the corrections of the original recipe. Please do accept our apologies and happy cooking!

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