Sfenj - Moroccan Donuts

Happy national donut day North America! Until last year, I didn’t know there was such a thing as national donut day. I had to start blogging and become a devoted instagrammer to find out about national donut day’s existence. Then I realised donut comes from dough-nut, and I didn’t how to feel about that. Because when you think about it, many donuts should be called but ring donuts but that’s another story!

If you live in the States you can get actual free donuts today in many shops and stores. How cool is that? But the best thing about today is that many foodies such as chefs and bloggers will share their favourite/customized donut recipe!  And, that is even cooler!

Obviously, I had to share my favourite donut recipe today and introduce you to sfenj, also known as the Moroccan donut! Sfenj is an unsweetened, airy and fluffy donut. It is chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside. It has an interesting yeasty and delicate taste. I like to enjoy it with sugar glaze or jam but I would rather let you decide how to enjoy your sfenj. Since it is unsweetened you can enjoy it with pretty much everything yummy, many Moroccans like my mum love their sfjen with a fried egg, #truestory.

Moroccans usually purchase their sfenj from the souk and enjoy them warm on the go. If there was a competition for all sorts of Moroccan street foods (btw do you remember maakouda?), sfenj will definitely be at the top. So please go ahead and celebrate your donuts with a Moroccan twist and make a luscious batch of sfenj!

Sfenj – Moroccan Donuts

INGREDIENTS

Makes 14 sfenj

  • 500 gr plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon caster sugar to activate the yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 250 gr (2 cups) icing sugar sifted for the glaze (glaze is optional)
  • 2 tablespoon milk for the glaze (glaze is optional)

METHOD

• Activate the dry yeast by adding ¼ teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon of lukewarm water in a small bowl. Stir with a fork and leave for 5 to 10 minutes until foamy.

• In a large bowl, transfer the flour, the salt and the water and combine all the ingredients. You should obtain a very sticky dough. If the dough is not sticky (almost like a batter consistency but thicker), add a few tablespoons of water until you obtain the right consistency.

 • Flour a worktop and knead the dough for 10 minutes until very elastic. It will be a bit challenging in the beginning as the dough is very sticky but it will get easier after a couple of minutes.

• Transfer the dough back in the bowl and cover with cling film and let the dough rest for 4 hours in a warm place, until the dough triples in size.

• When ready to deep fry the donuts, heat up 6 cm (2.5 inches) of frying oil in a deep pan over medium high heat until it reaches 180 C (350 F). 

• Dip your hands in water (to help handling the dough) and pull off a piece of dough the size of a plum. Make a hole in the centre of the dough and stretch it to make a wide ring. Quickly and carefully transfer the ring of dough into the warm frying oil.

• Fry on both sides turning occasionally, until crisp and golden. 

• Once ready, use a slotted spoon to transfer the donut to a wire rack lined with paper towels.

• Continue frying until all the donuts are cooked. Enjoy very warm with anything yummy such as sugar, honey, or icing sugar glaze.

• To make the icing sugar glaze, transfer the sifted icing sugar and milk into a medium sized bowl and slowly stir until smooth. 

Notes

• Sfenj are typically enjoyed warm, don't hesitate to reheat them if they've cooled before you serve them.