The fritters are about the size of doughnut holes and are perfect for Hanukkah. It’s also a great use for day-old stale challah. The recipe halves well.
Makes about 40 fritters
Shred the challah into 1/4-inch pieces and place them in a large bowl.
In a separate large bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, bananas, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and vanilla. Add the shredded challah and stir until well combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Stir well.
Wet your hands. Using your hands, roll about one tablespoon of batter into a ball. Press it together firmly and roll it again, squeezing to compact it into a form ball about one inch in diameter. Place it on a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.
In a 12-inch wide, heavy pot, heat 1/2 inch of oil over high heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (for best results, use a deep-fry or candy thermometer, but the oil is ready when a bit of fritter batter bubbles as soon as it is added to the pan). Line a large plate with paper towels.
Roll the fritters between your hands to make sure they are compact, then gently roll them off your hand and into the hot oil until you have eight to 10 in the pot, being careful not to crowd the pan. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain the proper temperature and prevent burning, and cook until the bottoms of the fritters are dark golden brown, two to three minutes. Flip the fritters with a slotted metal spoon or tongs and cook until the other side is browned, one to two minutes. Transfer the fritters to the prepared plate using tongs or slotted spoon. Add oil as needed and be sure to return the oil to the proper temperature between batches. (If desired, keep the fritters warm in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven on an ungreased baking sheet.)
In a medium bowl, mix together the tahini, cold water, lemon juice, salt, and three tablespoons of the agave syrup until very smooth (the mixture will seize up but loosen as you continue to stir). Add water one tablespoon at a time until the sauce is still thick but can be poured. Taste, and add more agave syrup, if desired. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle with silan, if using.
Sprinkle the fritters with confectioners’ sugar (if using) and serve with the sweet tahini sauce and warmed chocolate sauce (if using), on the side for dipping.
Make it in advance: The fritters can be made one day in advance, stored in an airtight container, and refrigerated. The Sweet Tahini Sauce can be made two days in advance without the silan, and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Jam Challah “Doughnut Holes” – Omit the bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla. Stir in one cup fruit preserves or jam and proceed with the recipe instructions. Serve sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar and with warmed chocolate sauce.
Recipe excerpted with permission from 52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen. 52 Shabbats explores the flavors, ingredients, techniques, and traditions of Jewish food from communities around the world while inviting everyone, regardless of background and experience, to honor the tradition of Shabbat with a special meal on Friday nights. Photography by Clara Rice. Buy the book on Amazon.