The Sephardic Hanukkah Dessert



by Renee Chernin, TheKosherChannel.com

Latkes, fritters, doughnuts, sufganio cannot hold a candle to these sensational fried sephardic Hanukkah treats. Since my mom made sure the food in our home was on the healthy side and a definite no-fry zone, it was always an exciting treat when my grandmother came over to make burmuelos. These are warm, crispy, fluffy, free-form doughnuts, a Sephardic Hanukkah treat. Burmuelos are a tradition that escaped with my ancestors exiled from Spain in 1492, traveled through Italy and on to Turkey, to settle firmly into our family holiday recipe repertoire. 

When Chanukah rolled around, Grandma felt she had license to pour enough cups of oil to clog even our youthful arteries into one of my mother's heavy pots. Then she magically extracted the most heavenly clouds of puffed dough that she drizzled with warm honey sauce. I think I even remember seeing Mom enjoying a few of them too.


1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast
1 1/2 cups very warm water
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup water
Oil for frying


In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and allow to stand for 10 to 15 minutes, until bubbly.

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in yeast mixture. Using a large spoon, mix gently, slowly adding warm water if needed, until a soft, sticky dough is formed. Cover dough and set aside for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over high heat, bring sugar, honey and water to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm. Prepare a pan to drain the burmuelos. Line a baking pan with several layers of newspaper and cover with a layer of paper towels.

Heat oil in deep fryer to 325 degrees or set a large heavy pot with 3" of oil over medium high heat. The oil is hot enough when a light sprinkle of flour over the oil bubbles immediately. With wet hands, pull off 2" balls and gently drop batter into hot oil, being careful not to spatter hot oil. For best results, do not crowd burmuelos. Fry for 3 to 5 minutes, flipping once, until burmuelos float and are golden and puffy. With a slotted spoon, remove to drain on prepared paper towels. Repeat until all dough is used.

When ready to serve, pour syrup over hot burmuelos and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cannot make ahead, cannot freeze, cannot wait to eat them!


Yield: makes 24 Burmuelos

Active time: 10-20 minutes ~ Total Time: 1 hour

Recipe: Desserts, Burmuelos, Parve, Kosher

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