Fánk (Donuts with Apricot Jam)

Julia Silverberg Nemeth

1 hour 15 minutes, plus rising

30 doughnuts

Dome-shaped doughnut topped with apricot jam sits atop blue plate on brown tablecloth

Photo by Jewish Food Society

Photo by Jewish Food Society

Every winter, Julia Silverberg Nemeth’s family would fry these doughnuts at their homestead in northern Minnesota. The daughter and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors who feared for their safety, Julia grew up not knowing she was Jewish. The doughnuts were fried in honor of Hanukkah but she thought they were “a Christmas tradition, even though my mom told me the story of the miracle of oil,” Julia explains. “I just thought all biblical stories were the same — as in Christian.” After her mother passed away, Julia found her liberation papers from Bergen-Belsen and started on a path to explore the family’s roots and reclaim her Jewish identity. 

Learn more about Julia’s story on the Jewish Food Society archive and find her family recipe for hen soup with galuska dumplings here and mákos nudli, or sweet poppyseed pasta, here


  • For the dough:
  • 2 cups milk, warmed to 115 degrees, divided
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 (¼ oz) packet active dry yeast 
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • For frying and assembly:
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 4 cups apricot jam
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add ¼ cup of the warm milk. Sprinkle in the sugar and yeast, stir gently and let stand for 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Add the remaining milk, melted butter, and egg yolks. Mix well to combine. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour and salt. Increase the speed to medium, and mix until the dough is smooth and starts to pull away from the bowl, about 10-12 minutes. 
  3. Form the dough into a ball, and transfer to a large bowl sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. 
  4. After the dough has risen, punch it down and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to ½ inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch circle cutter, punch out 30 circles, rerolling scraps as needed. 
  5. Transfer the circles to 2 large baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover doughnuts with plastic wrap or damp kitchen towels and let rest for 30 minutes. 
  6. Heat about 10 cups of oil (oil should be 2” deep, so add more if needed) in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven and set over medium-low heat. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat the oil to 350F. Add 4 doughnuts at a time and cook for 2 minutes per side until golden. Remove the doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a cooling rack or paper towels over a large baking sheet to drain excess oil. Repeat with remaining doughnuts. 
  7. Dollop 1 tablespoon of apricot jam on top of each donut, then dust with confectioners’ sugar. They are best eaten warm.

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