This year Chanukah and Christmas have overlapped, so we have had our menorah and our advent candle burning at the same time. But why stop there? In the spirit of cultural fusion, I decided to fill some of my traditional Chanukah doughnuts with mincemeat to make a deep-fried Jewish alternative to mince pies. You could, of course, use jam or even just pop a square of dark chocolate into the middle.
for the dough
7g instant yeast
300ml warm milk
15g vegetable oil
500g plain flour
for the filling
mincemeat or jam or half a square of dark chocolate
- Mix the dough ingredients thoroughly with a spoon, leave to sit for 10 minutes, then work for 10 minutes on a non-porous surface until you have a nice smooth dough. (The dough will be quite wet at the start, so is best worked with the "stretch, swing and fold" technique shown here.)
- Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with plastic and leave to prove for about 2 hours.
- Transfer the dough to a well-floured and work it gently for a couple of minutes. Roll out to a thickness of about 0.5cm and cut into 5cm circles.
- To fill, place a teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre of half of the circles, brush the outside of the circle with a little water, place another round on top and crimp the edges together to seal. Transfer to a well-floured tray and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
- Heat plenty of oil in a deep fat fryer or large saucepan until it is medium hot (about 170oC), and fry the doughnuts in batches for 3 minutes, before turning them over and frying for a further minute. Drain, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with brandy butter.
My original plan had been to make jam doughnuts and mince pies, before I realised that the lard I use in my mince pie pastry with is made from pig fat and therefore not eligible for being served to my grandma. I did briefly consider going on a hunt for a kosher alternative before I hit upon the idea of combining the two in a sweet festive smorgasbord of Judeo-Christian cultural mestizaje. Needless to say, my grandma would have nothing to do with my carefully concocted mncemeat donuts, and insisted on jam.