A selection of texts in no particular order to be contemplated before|while|after eating donuts, connecting the deep-fried delicacy to Hanukkah, of course, but also to Shavuot, Tu Bishvat, daily eating, the secular New Year's Eve and... Passover?
If you wish to partake of two articles of food [each for its own sake], for example, you are going to drink whiskey and also eat some pastry, honeycake, preserves, or the like, you should say a [separate] berachah over each; first, the berachah over the cake or the preserves because they are considered more important and then the berachah over the whiskey. Especially, if you eat some pastry and also drink coffee, you should say a separate berachah over each; that is to say, first over the pastry and then over the coffee, because you had in mind to eat both.
Shavuot Is National Donut Day (Sometimes)
According to Jake Rossen: "During World War I, volunteers who wanted to support troops were charged with preparing food to deliver to soldiers on the front lines in France. The Salvation Army dispatched over 250 women there, who found that battle-tested helmets were perfect for frying up to seven doughnuts at a time. In 1938, the Salvation Army decided to honor these proclaimed "doughnut lassies" by recognizing an annual pastry holiday that could also raise awareness (and money) for their charitable efforts. National Doughnut Day was born."
Everybody knows that dairy foods are associated with Shavuot, embodied best by cheesecake. This year, however, cheesecake has a competitor because National Donut Day falls on June 7, the Friday before Shavuot. Thus, here are a few recipes for savory dairy donuts:
וענין אותן הבאות מצה בתודה היתה כן מעשרה עשרונים של קמח היו עושין שלשים חלות, העשרה מהן היו נעשות מאפה תנור, כלומר שלא היה נעשה בהן דבר רק שהיו משימין בעסתן בשעת לישה שמינית לג שמן, שכן הוא הלכה למשה מסיני ואופין אותן. והעשרה מהן נקראות רקיקין, ואין חלוק בין העשרה של רקיקין לעשרה של מאפה תנור, אלא שבעשרה של מאפה תנור היו מערבין בהן שמינית לג של שמן בשעת לישה, והעשרה של רקיקין היו מושחין אותן בשמינית הלג שמן אחר אפיתן בתנור, והעשרה מהן היו מרבכות, ופרוש רביכה הוא שחולטין החלה במים רותחין ואופה אותה מעט ואחר כך קולה בשמן כדרך שקולין בני אדם הספגנין באלפס, ומרבץ בשמנן של עשר הרבוכות כי השמן שקלו בו היה רביעית לג כשעור כל השמן של העשרים חלות, וגם שעור זה של שמן הרבוכות הלכה למשה מסיני. וזה שאמרנו הוא פרוש מרבכת בכל מקום בתורה. ושם מתבאר (מנחות עז ב) כמה חלק יש לכהן בחלות, והשאר נאכל לבעלים. ויתר כל פרטיה שם במסכת זבחים.
And the content of those that came as matsa with the thanksgiving offering was like this: They would make thirty loaves from the ten issaron of flour. Ten of them were made by baking in the oven, meaning to say that nothing was done to them, except for putting an eighth of a log of oil into its dough, as such is a law of Moshe from Sinai. And ten of them are called rekikin (soaked in oil); but there is no difference between the ten that were soaked and the ten that were oven-baked, except that with the ten that were oven-baked, they would mix the eighth of a log of oil at the time of kneading, but with the soaked ones, they would smear the eighth of a log of oil after their being baked in the oven. And ten of them are called murbakhot (roasted in oil) - and the understanding of roasting is that they would scald the loaf in boiling water and bake it a little, and afterwards roast it in oil, in the way that people roast (fry) donuts in a pan. And it is roasted in the oil of the ten roasted ones, as the oil in which [each one] was roasted was a fourth of a log, [which when totaled] is the measure of all the oil of the [other] twenty loaves - and the measure of oil of the roasted ones is also a law of Moshe from Sinai. And that which we said is the understanding of murbakhot in every place in the Torah. And it is explained there (Menachot 77b), how much the share of the priest is in the loaves - and the rest is eaten by the owners. And the rest of all of its details are in Tractate Zevachim.
Carol Green Ungar, “The 'Hole' Truth About Sufganiyot,” Jewish Action
There is an Israeli folk tale about how the sufganiya, the ubiquitous Chanukah doughnut, got its name. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, they were despondent. God Himself cheered them up by feeding them sufganiyot. This rather whimsical exegesis is based on a parsing of sufganiya as sof-gan-yud-hey (the end of the Garden of the Lord, aka the Garden of Eden), the last two letters spelling out the Divine name. While no known commentator supports this interpretation, the story indicates the high esteem in which the hole-less Chanukah doughnut is held.
חטה: יעשה ממנו תבשיל או יביא פת הבאה בכסנין לאחר הסעודה ויהגה בזוהר פרש׳ בלק דף קפ״ח ע״ב פתח ואמר והיה באכלכם מלחם הארץ וכולי עד אתקפנא במגן וצנה לאגנא ויברך כל א׳ עלין.
Fun Fried Fact No. 1: A Jewish refugee from czarist Russian named Adolph Levitt is responsible for inventing the first automated doughnut machine in 1920. Thanks to Levitt, machine-produced doughnuts were labeled the “Hit Food of the Century of Progress” at the 1934 Chicago World’s Fair. [source: https://toriavey.com/history-kitchen/the-history-of-doughnuts/]
לֹא־תֹאכַ֤ל עָלָיו֙ חָמֵ֔ץ שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִ֛ים תֹּֽאכַל־עָלָ֥יו מַצּ֖וֹת לֶ֣חֶם עֹ֑נִי כִּ֣י בְחִפָּז֗וֹן יָצָ֙אתָ֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם לְמַ֣עַן תִּזְכֹּר֔ אֶת־י֤וֹם צֵֽאתְךָ֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם כֹּ֖ל יְמֵ֥י חַיֶּֽיךָ׃
You shall not eat anything leavened with it; for seven days thereafter you shall eat unleavened bread, bread of distress—for you departed from the land of Egypt hurriedly—so that you may remember the day of your departure from the land of Egypt as long as you live.
On Passover, we are commanded to not eat any leavened bread and modern observance of the holiday has expanded this stricture to include eating not wheat products outside of highly supervised matzah. The donut, beloved throughout the year by Jews and around the world, is a reminder of this commandment. Verily, as slaves in Egypt we did not have access to the delicacies of life, and so too on Passover we refrain from donuts, remembering the Lord's command, "Do not..."
When the chief baker saw how favorably he had interpreted, he said to Joseph, “In my dream, similarly, there were three openwork baskets on my head.
סלי חרי, the word חרי is related to the same word in Kings II 12,10 ויקוב חור, “he bored hole.” The baskets are made of thin strips, peeled, with little holes so that they are elastic and look as if plaited. There is no difference between the meaning of the ending י in חרי, and the noun in the regular plural mode חרים. We find such an ending with the letter י in Samuel II 23,8 ראש השלישי, where the noun שליש means “a type of hero, warrior, leader of a contingent of troops.” Sometimes the author contents himself with a partial plural ending, i.e. י, whereas on other occasions he uses the full plural ending ים. According to my teachers (Jerusalem Talmud Beytzah 2,7) the word חרי is derived from חררה, a type of cake baked on hot coals, and according to this interpretation the baskets the baker saw resembled these cakes in appearance. Whereas the lower two baskets contained these kinds of flat cakes, the topmost basket contained the kind of baked goods served to Pharaoh, i.e. superior goods, pastries, baked in an oven or in an oiled pan.
Fun Fried Fact No. 2: William Rosenberg (1916-2002), the son of immigrant Jewish parents, was operating an industrial catering business in which he sold snacks in converted secondhand trucks near factories around his native Dorchester, Massachusetts. He noticed that doughnuts and coffee accounted for 40 percent of his sales, and in 1948 launched a doughnut shop called the Open Kettle in Quincy, Massachusetts, the heart of America’s original doughnut country, aiming for a blue-collar clientele…This unassuming store would eventually become, in Rosenberg’s words, ‘the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain.’ Two years after opening, Rosenberg changed the store’s name to Dunkin’ Donuts... [source: Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, Gil Marks, quoted in https://toriavey.com/history-kitchen/the-history-of-doughnuts/]
רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר בֶּן חִסְמָא אוֹמֵר: ...תְּקוּפוֹת וְגִימַטְרִיאוֹת, פַּרְפְּרָאוֹת לַחָכְמָה:
R. Eliezer ben Chisma says: ...Tekufot [the movements of the constellations] and gematriot [the numeration of the letters] are the "seasonings" of wisdom [like those which it is customary to eat at the end of a meal for dessert]
The German Christian Origins of a Jewish Holiday Treat
John Cooper, Eat and Be Satisfied: A Social History of Jewish Food, pp. 192-193
In Germany on New Year’s Eve, the thirty-first day of December, the Christian population were accustomed to consuming deep-fried pastries, while in Berlin jelly doughnuts (Berliner Pfannkuchen) were eaten. Having adopted this culinary tradition for the festival of Hanukkah, which usually occurred at the onset of winter, German Jews ate apricot-filled glazed doughnuts on Hanukkah, giving rise to similar customs in Poland and Israel. In Poland the Jews on Hanukkah enjoyed doughnuts fried in oil (Pacski) or pancake (Placki) made from potato flour, which were again fried in oil. Of course, the Jews associated the frying of special foods in fat or oil with the miracle of the oil on Hanukkah. The German-Jewish immigrants to Israel, many of whom arrived in the 1930s, encouraged the rest of the population to enjoy munching jelly doughnuts (sufganiyot) on Hanukkah, the new Hebrew word sufganiya being derived from the Greek for sponge, spongos.
Matisyahu's Vegan Jelly Donuts
- 3 measuring cups
- 3 large bowls
- 2 wooden Spoons
- Large and small pots for stove
- 3 baking sheets
- Tool to cut circles out of batter
- Plastic wrap
- 2 pastry bags
- Wooden dowl or toothpicks
- 2 large skillets
- 1 0.25-oz. pkg. active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. sugar, divided
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 3 Tbs. nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, melted
- 2 cups canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/2 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. seedless raspberry jam
- Mix yeast and 1 tsp. sugar with 1 cup warm water (110°F) in measuring cup. Let stand 5 minutes, or until mixture foams and smells yeasty.
- Whisk together flour, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg in large bowl. Grease separate large bowl with oil.
- Stir yeast mixture into flour mixture with wooden spoon until sticky dough forms. Add up to 1/4 cup warm water to make smooth dough. Stir in melted margarine. Turn dough out onto well-floured work surface, and knead 6 to 8 minutes, or until smooth, soft, elastic dough forms. Add flour while kneading, if necessary. Transfer to oiled bowl, cover with towel, and let rise in warm place 1 1/2 hours.
- Dust baking sheet with flour. Roll dough out to 1/4-inch-thick round on well-floured work surface. Cut 25 circles from dough with 2-inch round cutter. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheet, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest 15 minutes.
- Heat oil in large skillet or Dutch oven to 370°F, or until hot but not smoking. Fry doughnuts in oil 3 to 5 minutes, or until deep golden brown, turning two or three times. Drain on paper-towel-lined plate; then roll in superfine sugar while still warm. Cool.
- Poke small hole in side of each doughnut with toothpick or wooden dowel. Use pastry bag fitted with small round tip to fill each doughnut with 1 tsp. raspberry jam.