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Sfenj (Moroccan Yeasted Doughnut)

Yield: Serves 8-10


  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar plus ¼ cup for dusting
  • 4 tablespoons plus ¾ cup warm water
  • 2 ½ cups plus two tablespoons flour
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup ground pistachios
DessertsHanukkah VegetarianVeganNorth Africa


  • Step 1

    Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a medium-sized bowl with the 4 tablespoons of warm water. Let the yeast starter stand for approximately 15 minutes until it is frothy and blooming so the yeast starter doubles in size.

  • Step 2

    Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl, then add the orange zest and salt. Make a small well in the middle of the flour and pour the yeast starter into the well. Incorporate the yeast mixture by making a swirling motion with your fingers in the middle of the well, while slowly streaming in the remaining ¾ cup of warm water. Knead the mixture inside of the bowl with palm of your hands for approximately 15 minutes until the dough is very smooth. Cover with a clean towel and set aside in a warm place to rise until it's roughly double in size, approximately 1 hour.

  • Step 3

    When the dough has almost finished rising, fill a large pot with the canola oil and heat until it reaches 350ºF on a thermometer. With wet hands, lightly punch down the dough to deflate. Pull off a piece of donut batter that is approximately the size of a small egg. Use your thumb to make a hole in the center of the piece of batter. Open the hole with your fingers to form a donut that is approximately 4 inches in diameter. Drop the donut away from you into the pot. Be careful not to crowd the pot (three donuts at a time is about right). Fry the donuts for 2 minutes on one side, then flip and finish cooking on the other side for 1 ½ minutes.

  • Step 4

    Remove the donuts to a cooling rack lined with paper towels to drain. Cool for approximately 4 minutes and then drizzle each donut with honey, sprinkle with pistachios. Serve immediately.