I know that sufganiyot – jelly doughnuts – are traditional and beloved for Hanukkah. But I feel confident that once you try these easy and incredibly delicious ricotta fritters, you will be converted to these sweet fried treats.
And if I’m making a confession, I have actually never loved traditional sufganiyot. Sometimes our family made our own, or bought from local bakeries, but were usually left feeling kind of “meh.” They were always a bit too bready and heavy.
About 10 years ago my sister enlightened us all with these perfectly crisp, round fritters. They’re so light and creamy with a hint of fresh lemon zest. The batter comes together in just five minutes, and it is as easy as making pancakes. We love to warm up some of my mom’s homemade jellies and jams for dipping.
Since these babies are at their absolute best right when they’re fresh, I like to fry them up while I make tea after the holiday meal. The “wow” factor of fresh fritters is incomparable! Our guests love the deconstructed sufganiyot because it’s unexpected and gets people talking. I serve a variety of warm jellies like pomegranate, peach and blackberry.
Note: I doubt you will have any fritters left over, but if you do, store them in a paper bag for one or two days at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4-6 cups canola oil, for frying
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup jam or jelly
Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat until it reaches 365 degrees.
In the meantime, in a large bowl combine the eggs, ricotta, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk to thoroughly combine. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and lemon zest; whisk to thoroughly combine.
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir with a spoon until the batter just comes together and there are no lumps of flour.
If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can check if the oil is hot enough by placing a wooden spoon in the hot oil. If small bubbles form around the spoon immediately, the oil is hot enough. When the oil has come to temperature, use a No. 40 cookie scoop (2 tablespoons) to carefully scoop the batter into the hot oil without crowding the pan.
Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side until deep golden brown. Check the first fritter for doneness on the inside.
Use a slotted spoon or metal spider to remove the fritters and any excess oil, then transfer to paper towels to drain.
Dust with powdered sugar.
In a small pan, heat the jam or jelly until it becomes liquid, then transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately for best results. Serves 24 fritters.