This issue's special Hanukkah recipe is provided by Rachel Almeleh, who runs a popular Sephardi-oriented food catering business in the Seattle, Washington, area (www.sephardicdelicacies.com). She is also author of “A Legacy of Sephardic, Mediterranean, and American Recipes,” available on amazon.com. Almeleh draws her cooking inspiration from the Isle of Rhodes, the birthplace of both her parents, and she spent many hours learning from her aunts and cousins. If you have questions or wish to learn more, you can reach her at email@example.com.
3 tsp. dried yeast
½ tsp. sugar
2-¼ cup warm water
¼ tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
Oil for frying
Syrup: ¾ cup honey with 3 tbsp. water
Dissolve yeast and sugar in ½ cup of the warm water. Let rest until bubbles appear on the surface. In a large bowl, mix the yeast mixture with the rest of the warm water. Add the salt, oil and flour. Dough should be smooth. Cover and set in a warm place to rise to double in size, an hour or so. Punch down, cover again and let rise another ½ hour.
Heat 4 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep fryer or heavy sauce pan. Oil is hot enough when a drop of water sizzles in the oil. Prepare a small bowl of water to moisten your hands. Dip hands into the water, shaking off any excess, and grab a round piece of dough 2” in diameter. Work the dough into a ball: then stretch it to 4” while poking a hole in the middle with your finger. Try to maintain a doughnut shape. Carefully drop into the oil Repeat 2-3 times. Avoid frying too many at one time. Cook one side until golden brown, turn and cook the other side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat procedure until all the dough is used.
Heat the honey and water until hot and well mixed. Drizzle over doughnuts.
VARIATION: Serve with powdered sugar and cinnamon
NOTE: Burmuelos do not freeze well, but they can be stored in a plastic bag or container, without syrup, for a few days. Reheat in oven or about 15 seconds in a microwave oven.