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Celebrate Hanukkah with pastries

(Joyce Trepus welcomes your questions at 503-292-2741).

Friday, Dec. 16 is the first day of Hanukkah. Winter begins on the Dec. 21 and Christmas Eve on Dec. 24, followed by Christmas Day on Monday, Dec. 25. New Year's Eve and the Islamic Eld-al-Adhal are celebrated on Sunday, Dec. 31 with New Year's Day on Monday, Jan. 1, 2007. Hard to believe isn't it?

The following recipe is from 'The Sephardic Table' by Pamela Grau Twena.

Tunisian Fried Hanukkah Pastries (Yo-Yos)

These wonderful treats resemble doughnuts and are made during the holiday of Hanukkah. If made during Passover, matzo meal is substituted for the flour. The author's friend, Serge Cohen, was born in Tunisia but spent his early adulthood in France as a chef and gave her the following recipe. They are easy to make and have a superb flavor.

Pastry

4 large eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 package 5/16-ounce vanilla sugar (found in Middle Eastern shops)

1 teaspoon orange-blossom water

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

honey syrup (thin honey with hot water and add orange zest -my idea, not in the book)

Beat together eggs, sugar and 1 tablespoon oil in medium bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. In a large bowl combine flour and baking powder. Fold the egg mixture into the flour with a wooden spoon. Add vanilla sugar, orange-blossom water and orange zest.

Combine ingredients until the consistency is slightly sticky; the batter should not crumble or fall apart, nor should it stick to your fingers when you work with it. If it is too sticky, gradually add more flour; if it is too dry, add a little more oil.

Turn dough out onto a breadboard and knead for a few minutes to create smooth dough. Form into a large ball, cover with a clean dishtowel and set aside for 30 minutes.

Roll dough into small balls 2-inches in diameter. Work balls into rings, poking a hole in center of each. They should look like mini-doughnuts.

Pour 4-inches of oil into a deep pot and heat to 350 degrees. Fry doughnuts in oil until golden brown, turning once.

Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Dip into honey syrup. Serve immediately, stacked on a large platter.

Next week: information on sparkling cider, mulled cider and champagne.