Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hanukah Cookout Part II

Buoyed up with my success at latkes I decided to take on sfinge - I'm half Sephardic and live in a Moroccan development town. It is almost a moral imperative.
However, I was still nervous about that recipe.
To be honest, with recipes I know well I do cook in the 'throw in a bit of this and that' style. But I have suffered several yeast baking disasters in the last couple of years and wanted to commence this endeavour with a feeling of confidence.

If I want to get started, I had to buy the Shimrit. Shimrit is the name of the dry active yeast sold in Israel. It is sold in 50g packets, which can get confusing when US recipes say to use one packet of dry yeast - in US dry yeast is sold in 1/4oz-8g packets. Big Difference :0)
I bought the packet of yeast and it has a picture of doughnuts on the front and on the back is a recipe for sfinge! Great, now I at least had an idea of relative quantities.
The yeast packet said 'Take 1 pkt of yeast, 1 kilo of flour....'. Even with my limited experience, I know that this amount of flour makes enough sfinge for a platoon of hungry soldiers. 
I used ½ the yeast, ½ kilo of flour and it made 2-3 dozen smallish sfinge. 

The day was sunny if cold and the dough leavened quite happily in the light of a sunbeam shining through our window. 

The next thing was the deep-frying. I have a pathological fear of deep-frying. Don't ask me why, it is illogical. 
When I lived at home there was almost no deep-frying - Fish and Chips came from the local Take Away (It was also the Chinese Take Away. The batter was unusual but tasty) and any other chips were those new-fangled oven-chips.
After my Dad trained as a chef he became a little braver with the boiling hot oil than the rest of us but I never deep-fried in my own home, though there was that short stint at McDonalds and the months on the kibbutz when I worked the diet corner of the kitchen and had to fry chips everyday.
For us at home a compromise would be an electric deep fryer but we have never got round to buying one. 
The other day I got on to the subject of cooking with one of my English students and when she heard I hadn't got a fryer she offered me hers. She no longer needed it now her grandson had grown up and was out of his chips craze.
At first I went crazy making falafel, egg rolls and chips with every meal but this was the first time I was going to make doughtnuts.

I pulled down the fryer and set it on the marble counter top. That was when I encountered a major problem - No oil  :0(
We hummed and hahhed as the nearest open shop was a 10-15 minute drive away. 
Then we had a brainwave and asked my parents to buy some on their way back from an ice-skating trip with my children.
The final result were quite delicious sfinge which due to our total inability to stop eating them have contributed to the latest increase in obesity statistics.

My Recipe
25g dry yeast
1/2 kg plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups (16 floz) water
Put all ingredients except water in a bowl. Mix. Add water slowly. Mix until dough is smooht 5-10 minutes. Leave to rise for 2-3 hours.  Shape dough with oily hands.  Deep fry at same temp used for chips until brown on both sides. Enjoy!

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