This post is also available in Italiano
At my grandparents’ house, my grandmother Malu was the queen of her kitchen: she was always in charge of cooking, of course, during the week but also for parties and Shabbat. My grandfather used to enter the kitchen from time to time, almost only to make coffee, except for a single, exceptional time of the year: Hanukkah.
At Hanukkah, my grandfather got up early, went into the kitchen and prepared sfenz, the fritter made with water and flour, just as he had in Tripoli. A quick and simple batter, a few hours of leavening, a dip in boiling oil, and … the most irresistible snack in the world is ready.
Do you remember amusement park fritters? Well, here they are: the name may be different, but the end result is the same.
- 1/2 kg of 00 flour 00
- 1/2 cube of fresh yeast or 1 spoon of dry yeast
- about 2 cups of water
- oil for frying
- white sugar for dusting
- Pour all the flour into a large bowl. Separately, dissolve the yeast in the water, then add the liquid thus obtained to the flour, working the dough with your hands until you get a very soft and elastic dough that is quite sticky.
- Let the dough rise while covered with a kitchen towel (in a warm room, protected from drafts) for about 1 hour, then knead it quickly with your hands and let it rise for another hour.
- Once the leavening has been completed, place the bowl with the dough, and a second bowl of warm water near the stove.
- In a large skillet, or even in a saucepan if you do not feel so confident with a skillet, heat plenty of oil for frying; in the meantime, take a ball of dough, and pull it gently spreading it with your hands, until you get a fairly thin layer, possibly even with a few holes. To do this, it is advisable to keep your hands moist and clean, so it is better, after each layer, to moisten hands in the water bowl.
- Fry the first fritter making sure to brown well on both sides, then drain and repeat the operation with the remaining mixture until it is finished.
- Drain the fritters on a couple of paper towels, dip them immediately into the white sugar, and serve hot.