Isfenğ (The Andalusian Donut)

Hélène Jawhara Piñer
Recipe by
Hélène Jawhara Piñer

This fried pastry is common among Jews and Muslims, especially in Morocco and Israel. The recipe dates back to the thirteenth century, when this and similar dishes were popular in al-Andalus. Nowadays in Morocco, it is prepared by street vendors, although Jews mainly serve the dish for Hanukkah.

1 Tbsp. fresh yeast + 1⁄3 cup lukewarm water
3 cups flour
2 tsp. sugar
1⁄2 Tbsp. salt
1 2⁄3 cup lukewarm water
neutral oil for frying
  • In a small bowl, dilute the fresh yeast with lukewarm water.
  • Put the dissolved yeast, flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with the dough hook while gradually adding water. The dough should be sticky.
  • Mix for 15 minutes and cover the bowl. Rest overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan or a deep fryer over medium-high heat.
  • Lightly dip your hands into some water and pull off a golf ball-sized portion of the dough.
  • Make a hole in the middle and stretch it well.
  • Fry the dough for 30 seconds to one minute, turning it over once.
  • These are usually eaten on their own, but you can sprinkle them with sugar and lightly dip them in honey if you want them to be sweet.