Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beaver Tails - a different kind of Chanuka donut....

I have a really great friend, Perla, who happens to also be Canadian. Whenever she has a party she makes sure that Beaver Tails are on the menu, and the first time I tried these donuts, it was love at first taste. Apparently they're really big in Montreal, where she's from. This is my version. Enjoy warm with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar!


1/2 cup warm water
5 teaspoons dry yeast

1 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon + 1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
5 cups flour
oil for frying


2 cups white sugar, or as needed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water, and a pinch of sugar. Let stand until slightly foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. When the yeast is foamy (looks like beer), stir in remaining sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, oil and salt.
3. Add flour gradually to make soft dough. Knead 5-8 minutes (by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook), adding flour as needed to form a firm, smooth, elastic dough. Place dough in a greased bowl, and cover. Let rise until doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.
3. Gently deflate the dough, and pinch off a golf ball-sized piece of dough. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the ball out to an oval. Set aside to rest covered with a tea towel, and continue with remaining dough.
4. Heat about 4 inches of oil for frying in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). If you do not have a deep fryer, a wok or Dutch oven will work. Test a tiny bit of dough and see if it sizzles and swells immediately. If it does, the oil temperature is where it should be.
5. Just before placing the beaver tails in the oil, stretch the ovals out into a tail shape, thinning and enlarging them as you do. Carefully place the tails in the hot oil one or two at a time. Fry, turning once, until the tails are a deep brown, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove using tongs and drain on paper towels.
6. Place 2 cups of sugar in a large bowl, and stir in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Toss beaver tails in the sugar bowl while they are still hot. Shake off excess.

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