Sfenj are light and airy Moroccan donuts that are deep fried and topped with a sprinkle of sugar. They are appropriately named for their spongey texture and pair perfectly with a glass of Moroccan mint tea.
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Sfenj in Morocco
I have yet to try a donut I don't love and sfenj (sometimes written sfinj) are no exception.
During hot Moroccan summers my dad would make sure our weekend mornings were spent at the beach and afternoons were spent around my grandmother's table with a pot of Moroccan mint tea and a freshly fried batch of sfenj.
It was one of those rituals you looked forward to all year.
I remember the excitement of leaving the beach and arriving at the small hole in the wall where we bought sfinj from the kind man who spent his day mixing and pulling the dough, deep frying and sprinkling sugar.
He made the process look effortless.
It wasn't until years later that I finally grew curious about how to make them myself and realized it's actually quite easy to make them at home.
There are a few ingredients you'll need to make sure you have before you start making your dough.
Here's what you'll need:
- active dry yeast
- warm water
- bread flour
- vegetable oil
- white granulated sugar or honey
See recipe card for exact quantities.
Make the dough. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and water in a bowl. Mix to combine until the dough is homogenous.
Rise. Cover with a clean towel and set aside to rise until the dough doubles in size, about an hour.
Shape the donuts. Heat the oil in a pan to medium high. Rub your hands with oil before grabbing a 2 inch ball of dough and using your fingers to poke a hole through the center and form a donut shape.
Remember: Adding a bit of oil to your hands can help a great deal with working the dough.
Fry the sfenj. Gently add each donut to the oil, frying a few at a time and making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown all around, flipping occasionally to prevent them from burning.
Toss in sugar or honey (optional). Lay sfenj to dry on a paper towel and enjoy as is or top with a sprinkle with sugar or drizzle of honey.
How to Pronounce Sfenj/Sfinj
I'm going off my family's pronunciation here (so it very well could vary) and that sounds like:
s - f - in - ch
Sfenj are actually just as addicting completely plain, fresh out of the fryer without any toppings. But they're also delicious with a little something drizzled, sprinkled or spread on top!
Here are a few of my favorite toppings:
- Sugar - keep it traditional with a generous sprinkle of sugar
- Honey - dip or drizzle some honey
- Jam - a bit of raspberry jam spread on top goes a long way