By Paula Shoyer
When I developed my parve and nut-free recipe for pumpkin doughnuts back in 2011, I was just trying to create more interesting sufganiyot for Hanukkah. I felt that every possible topping and glaze had been done, so I decided to explore different flavors of dough. I love pumpkin and have created many pumpkin desserts—cakes, challah and more. I had no idea back then that two years later the first day of Hanukkah would coincide with Thanksgiving and that I had already created the perfect mash-up recipe! I will probably make them this year for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning as a treat for the many family members who will be with us. I’m sure I will get some curious stares from the older generation, but I will urge them to try something new.
Pumpkin purée and classic pumpkin pie spices give these doughnuts a soft, comforting texture and taste.
¼ ounce (1 envelope; 7g) dry yeast
¼ cup (60ml) warm water
¼ cup (50g) plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
⅓ cup (80ml) soy milk
2 tablespoons (28g) margarine, at room temperature for at least 15 minutes
1 large egg
½ cup (120g) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-3¼ cups (375–405g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
Canola oil for frying
¼ cup (30g) confectioners’ sugar for dusting
In a large bowl, place the yeast, warm water and one teaspoon of sugar and stir. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, or until thick.
Add the remaining sugar, brown sugar, soy milk, margarine, egg, pumpkin purée, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and 2 cups (250g) of the flour to the bowl and mix on low speed with either a dough hook in a stand mixer or a wooden spoon. Add another cup (125g) of flour and mix well. Add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, and mix it in until the dough becomes smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl each time before adding more flour.
Cover the dough with a clean dishtowel and let it rise for one hour in a warm place. I use a warming drawer on a low setting, or you can turn your oven on to its lowest setting, wait until it reaches that temperature, place the bowl in the oven, and then turn off the oven.
Punch down the dough by folding it over a few times and reshaping it into a ball. Then re-cover the dough and let it rise for 10 minutes.
Dust a cookie sheet with some flour. Sprinkle some flour on your counter or on a piece of parchment paper and roll the dough out until it’s about ½-inch (1.25cm) thick. Use a 2½-inch (6cm) round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut out circles and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Reroll any scraps. Cover the doughnuts with the towel. Place the cookie sheet back in the oven (warm but turned off) or warming drawer. Let the doughnuts rise for 45 minutes.
Heat 1½ inches (4cm) of oil in a medium saucepan for a few minutes and use a candy thermometer to see when the temperature stays between 365 degrees and 375 degrees; adjust the flame so the oil stays in that temperature range.
Cover a cookie sheet with foil. Place a wire rack on top of it and set it near your stovetop. Gently slide no more than four doughnuts, top side down, into the oil and fry for 1½ minutes. Turn the doughnuts over and cook another 1½ minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, letting excess oil drip off, and place on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar and serve. Store covered at room temperature for up to one day and reheat to serve.
Paula Shoyer, a former attorney, graduated from the Ritz Escoffier pastry program in Paris, and now teaches French and Jewish baking classes in the Washington, D.C., area. She is the author of “The Holiday Kosher Baker: Traditional & Contemporary Holiday Desserts” and “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-Free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and is a contributing editor to several kosher websites, including KosherScoop.com, and magazines, including Joy of Kosher, Whisk and Hadassah.
Reprinted with permission from “The Holiday Kosher Baker: Traditional & Contemporary Holiday Desserts” © 2013 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress.