The traditional Hanukkah doughnut has become an over-the-top treat. Just ask the Kosher King

Shlomo “The Kosher King” Assayag.

The classic Hanukkah sufganiyah—a fried doughnut filled with strawberry or raspberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar—has been transformed into an over-the-top dessert with a seemingly infinite number of fillings and toppings.

Kosher bakeries across Toronto are offering all kinds of sufganiyot from sweet to savoury, including some filled with deli meat, said Shlomo Assayag, who runs The Kosher King social media accounts.

Just before the start of Hanukkah, he held a sufganiyot-tasting event. A component with dairy and pareve dessert-style doughnuts was later followed by a segment on savoury Hanukkah options.

The videos featured products from 15 different establishments to showcase what is available for the holiday this year.

Artisanal sufganiyot with gourmet fillings and fancy toppings are a trend that can be traced to Roladin, a popular Israeli bakery and cafe chain, Assayag said.

The dairy fillings—some are imported from Israel—include such flavours as s’mores, strawberry cheesecake, tiramisu, dulce de leche, Ferrero Rocher, Nutella and pistachio.

You can also find sufganiyot topped with small plastic vials of sweet filling that can be injected into an individual doughnut to infuse it with an additional shot of flavour.

Assayag noted that the elaborate fillings and toppings add to the cost of these sufganiyot, so they’re more expensive than the classic jelly-filled doughnuts.

Bakeries and other establishments known to be nut-free facilities have produced their nut-filled sufganiyot in separate or outside facilities. These items are sold in sealed packages and marked accordingly.

While dairy fillings have become a more recent sufganiyot trend, pareve fillings like caramel, custard, lemon, cherry and blueberry have also been growing in popularity over the years.

Fancy pareve sufganiyot are also available with a variety of toppings. For example, the pastry can be filled with custard or pastry cream and glazed with chocolate for a Boston-cream-style doughnut.

The combinations of the various pareve glazes, toppings and fillings can be endless.

Toasted coconut, sprinkles, chocolate chips, pebble cereal, and cookies and cream are among the various toppings used for both flavour and appearance.

Assayag also discussed the savoury component of his recent Hanukkah tasting event.

He described the meat donuts as a holiday take on a sandwich. Individual yeast doughnuts were cut like a sandwich and each contained a different meat filling. The choices included pulled beef, shawarma, kefta, chicken, and burgers.  A baked doughnut was another option for a sandwich, he said.

“It tasted good. You have the extra oil element [in the doughnut] replacing a bun,” Assayag reported.

Another savoury holiday trend is to have a burger or pulled beef sandwiched between two latkes.

Included in the savoury Hanukkah food tasting event was a menorah created out of sushi rolls, he said. 

For those still craving sweet and fried foods in the spirit of Hanukkah, one kosher bakery is also making churros, fried dough shaped into logs that are rolled in cinnamon and sugar, Assayag said. Some kosher caterers are preparing bunuelos or binuelos, Moroccan-style doughnuts traditionally eaten by Sephardic Jews during the holiday.

For a completely different Hanukkah dessert there is also a company creating doughnuts from Rice Krispies and marshmallows. The round treats are then iced and decorated with sprinkles, crumbled cookies or other toppings.