Moroccan Jews have for generations married the orange with the tradition of frying foods in oil to commemorate the miracles of the oil in the temple. Oranges come into season just around the time we begin to light our Chanukah candles. In the early days of the State of Israel the Jaffa oranges were one of the countries leading exports.
Here is Egyptian born Claudia Roden’s recipe for the traditional Moroccan Chanukah orange doughnut, made in ring form.
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup or more freshly squeezed orange juice, warmed slightly
3 1/2 cups flour grated zest of 1 orange (preferably organic)
2 eggs lightly beaten
3 1/2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
Oil for frying
Confectioner’s sugar to sprinkle on top
- Put the yeast in a bowl with about 4 tablespoons of the orange juice, 1 teaspoon of the orange juice, 1 teaspoon of the sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the flour. Beat well, and leave for about 25 minutes, until it froths.
- In a large bowl, mix the remaining flour and sugar with the orange zest, eggs, and 4 tablespoons of oil. Add the yeast mixture and mix well. Now add just enough orange juice to make a soft dough that holds together in a ball, adding it gradually, and working it in with your hand. Knead for about 15 minutes, till elastic and no longer sticky. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of oil in the bowl and turn the dough around to grease it all over. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
- Punch the dough down and roll out to about 1/3 inch thick. You do not need to flour the surface, for the dough is oily and will not stick. Cut into rounds about 3 inches in diameter. Make a hole in the middle with your finger and pull out the ring, enlarging the hole. Leave the dough rings on an oiled tray for another 1/2 hour to rise. Then deep-fry in batches in 2 inches of oil over medium heat (so they do not brown too quickly), turning them over once to brown them all over. Drain on paper towels and serve dusted with confectioner’s sugar.