Soufganiyot are traditionally fried donuts that are filled with jelly or jam and doused with a shower of confectioners' sugar. This recipe takes that idea and runs it through the oven instead of a vat of boiling fat (woo - that rhymed!) to take out some of the naughtiness.
Preparing these donuts is akin to making bread dough, though it is lighter on the butter and heavier on the sugar. Rather than using water as you might with other doughs, this recipe uses milk to keep the rolls tender and soft. From what I understand, Soufganiyot also often have citrus zest in the dough, so this recipe takes a cue and adds in a bit of zest from an orange. You could certainly use a stand mixer to knead the dough since the process starts out there to get it going, but over the years I've grown to love the feel of bread dough between by fingers and prefer to do that.
When the dough was smooth and elastic, yet still tacky to the touch, we set it aside for its first rise. When the yeast and made the dough grow double in size, I punched it down and turned it out onto the counter, covered, to relax for 5 minutes after being disturbed. Divvying the dough out into 16 pieces, I rolled each of them into a ball and set them aside again to give the yeast time to feed and grow once more. See why I said "a few hours"?! Needless to say, I was up early this morning!
Baked until the rolls were golden, we then let them cool completely before shoving the end of a wooden spoon through the side, making a pocket inside to hold a spoonful of jam. I only had bits of jam in the refrigerator, so I ended up stuffing some with strawberry, a few got raspberry and the rest were given a dose of blackberry jam. I used a pastry bag fitted with an open tip to speed the process along, but if you happen to have one of those condiment squeeze bottles handy, I'd use that so you have more control.
While I do think they were more like soft bread rolls, filled with sweet jam, rather than what one would call "donuts", we both agree it was still a tasty treat, especially for being on the lighter side! Between preparing the dough, two rising times, baking and then cooling, it is a fairly length process, but it was fun to do and it would be a perfect project if you have little helpers around!