A sufganiyah is a ball-shaped doughnut that is first deep-fried, then pierced and injected with jelly or custard, and then topped with powdered sugar. It is similar to the German Berliner, the Polish pączki, or the Russian ponchik. In Yiddish, sufganiyot are known as ponchkes. They are usually eaten warm.
The Hebrew word sufganiyah derives from the Hebrew word for sponge. This is supposed to describe the texture of a sufganiyah, which is somewhat similar to a sponge.
The sufganiyah was originally made from two circles of dough surrounding a jam filling, stuck together and fried in one piece. Although this method is still practiced, an easier technique commonly used today is to deep-fry whole balls of dough and then inject them with a filling through a baker's syringe (or a special industrial machine).
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 or levivot) are also 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.
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Hanukkah Doughnut ( Sufganiyah ), www.chefkosher.com
What is Sufganiya ?, www.jewishrecipes.org