These doughnuts, from Esther Sabach, Rachel Klein's boyfriend's mother, are a nod to Sephardic Jewish tradition. Beautiful Desserts
In a large bowl, combine the 1 3/4 cups of warm water with the yeast and let stand for 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead lightly until the dough is silky. Oil a medium bowl and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down the dough, then let it rise again for another 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds in a pie plate and bake for 10 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water with the lemon juice and cardamom and simmer over moderate heat until reduced by half; strain. Let cool slightly, then stir in the rose water.
In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil to 325°. Meanwhile, divide the dough into quarters. Cut each quarter into 10 pieces. Using wet hands, shape into balls and poke a hole in the center of each. Carefully add the doughnuts to the hot oil in batches and fry until browned, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels.
Dip 1 side of each doughnut in the syrup and sprinkle with the almonds; serve.
The recipe can be made through Step 1; then the doughnut dough can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.