| A sufganiyah (Hebrew: סופגנייה; plural, sufganiyot: סופגנייות) is a ball-shaped doughnut that is first fried, pierced and injected with jelly or custard, and then topped with powdered sugar. It is usually eaten warm.
The Hebrew word sufganiyah derives from the Greek word sufgan, which means "puffed and fried". This accurately describes the look of a sufganiyah, which was originally prepared as two pieces of dough surrounding a jam filling, which was then fried together. Today, balls of dough are deep-fried separately and then injected with a filling through the use of special injector machines.
Sufganiyot are widely consumed in Israel in the weeks leading up to and including the Hanukkah holiday. At Hanukkah, Jews observe the custom of eating fried foods in commemoration of the miracle associated with the Temple oil. While potato pancakes (latkes) are eaten in Israel, sufganiyot are considered a more "Israeli" Hanukkah treat.
Bakeries and grocery stores build excitement for the approaching holiday by selling sufganiyot individually and by the box; they have become a favorite for school and office parties. Angel Bakeries, the largest bakery in Israel, reportedly fries up more than 250,000 sufganiyot every day during the eight-day Hanukkah festival. Each batch uses 100 kilograms of dough and makes 1,600 sufganiyot. Local newspapers add to the excitement by sending out food critics each year to rate the "best sufganiyah in town."
As a result of the national hubbub, some purveyors have elevated the basic filling recipe to an art form. The least expensive version (priced at about 30 cents) is stuffed with plain red jelly, while a more expensive version (priced at about $1 per sufganiyah) is piped with dulce de leche. Outside of Israel, there are many variations on the basic dough, including chocolate, no-yeast, and raised potato.