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 become a fan.
And, I confess, I have actually never loved traditional sufganiyot. Sometimes our family made our own, or we bought them from local bakeries, but we were usually left feeling that they were kind of meh. They were always a bit too bread-y and heavy.
Around 10 years ago, my sister enlightened us all with these perfectly crisp, round fritters. They’re 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 fritters are at their absolute best 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 also love the deconstructed sufganiyot because it’s unexpected and gets people talking. I serve them with a variety of warm jellies like pomegranate, peach and blackberry.
If you should happen to have any fritters left over, you can store them in a paper bag for 1-2 days at room temperature.
Lemon Ricotta Fritters
4-6 cups canola oil, for frying
2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup jam or jelly (I love pomegranate, peach and blackberry, but feel free to use whatever jam/jams you like)
Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat until it reaches 365 degrees F.
While the oil is heating, combine in a large bowl the eggs, ricotta, sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk to thoroughly combine. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and lemon zest, whisking to thoroughly mix.
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 immediately form around the spoon, the oil is hot enough. When the oil has come to temperature, use a #40 cookie scoop (2 tablespoons) to carefully scoop the batter into the hot oil, without crowding the pot.
Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, until deep golden brown. Check the first fritter that you remove from the oil to make sure the inside is cooked.
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.
This story was originally published in The Nosher, at www.myjewishlearning.com.