When I saw Ne'eman's ad for this Chanukah's line of sufganiyot some of the different flavors seemed interesting to me. Ne'eman has come a long way from their humble beginnings, back in 1944 when the founder and grandfather Rabbi Baruch Ne'eman peddled his baked goods through the streets of Jerusalem's Bucharim neighborhood in a baby carriage and sold pastries, including sufganiyot, to the locals (as you see depicted in the pretty mural-like drawing on the cool box I got when I bought the sufganiyot).
Ne'eman now has about 40 branches all over the country. Since I think many of my Israeli readers have access to Ne'eman doughnuts I decided to give them a try and post a review.
Ne'eman has 13 different doughnuts in this year's line of sufganiyot. Here's what I thought of the 5 doughnuts I tasted.
I think I liked their doughnut recipe better than all the supermarket ones I reviewed here , still I don’t think these Ne'eman doughnut will be winning a pastry award any time soon.
Size-wise all the doughnuts I got were about 8-9cm. in diameter.
As I mentioned in my review of Kapulsky's Sugar-Free Cheese Cake I really enjoy a good cheese cakes so when I saw the this doughnut flavor on Ne'eman's ad it intrigued me most and made me want to try their doughnuts, so that’s the one I tasted first.
The cheese cake filling was a thickish custard-like filling. At first I had a hard time tasting the cheese cake flavor at all, but once I was able to get past the somewhat margarine/shortening type taste, I think I picked up on a cheese cake flavor. Maybe it was mind over matter and had I not known that Ne'eman was going for a cheese cake flavor I may never have noticed it at all. The margarine-like taste of the cream kind of surprised and disappointed me. Given that these doughnuts are dairy I was not anticipating that kind of an issue.Compared to the doughnuts I bought at the supermarket this one had a lot more filling. The filling was also piped on top of the doughnut and then sprinkled with biscuit crumbs, like you would find on many cheese cakes. It seemed as though Ne'eman actually used the crumbs they normally put on their cheese cakes. I enjoyed the biscuit crumbs. Like the filling, the crumbs were sweet but not overly so. In my opinion the biscuit crumbs added a nice taste and texture to the cheese cake doughnut.
This Cheese Cake doughnut was disappointing but not awful. I think it needs improvements. I may have liked the idea of this doughnut more than the doughnut itself.
The next Doughnut that seemed fun and interesting to try was the
Bamba Flavored Doughnut.
The first day I stopped by Ne'eman and saw the doughnuts the Bamba one had the same pretty "flowers" and dots of chocolate as you see on the one I got but it also had an actual bamba snack stuck in the middle. I didn’t buy doughnuts that day because they didn’t have the cheese cake one that I really wanted to taste. The day I did buy the doughnuts for some reason there was no actual bamba snack on the bamba flavored doughnuts.
But hay, that’s ok, I think it's pretty enough this way too. And I'm not sure I would've love the texture of the puffed corn snack mixed with the softer fluffier doughnut.
Texture-wise the filling of this doughnut was very much like that of the cheese cake one. It had a thickish custard-like feel to it.
There was no doubt in my mind that this was the bamba doughnut. It was clearly a peanut butter flavored filling yet I didn’t think they went overboard on the peanut butter flavor. In my book that’s a good thing. Personally I would have preferred a bit more chocolate as a contrasting flavor but then it would have been a peanut butter cup doughnut and not a bamba one. Given that Israeli kids are more fond of bamba than peanut butter cups I get why Ne'eman went for the bamba flavor and not peanut butter cups, but hay I guess that’s an idea for next year.
I thought the bamba doughnut was enjoyable and an original flavor for a doughnut. Something about the gelatin-like texture of the flowers on top bothered me a drop. They must have added something to the mixture to help the flower shapes stay put and it slightly changed the taste and texture, not enough to ruin the doughnut for me but still something small I thought worthy of mentioning.
I was slightly disappointed when I realized that the filling of this doughnut was not a marshmallow fluff or made with marshmallows at all. Instead it's actually filled with a white chocolate cream, which was sweet and tasty. I enjoyed it, but given that it's being called the "marshmallow doughnut" I was anticipating a marshmallow related filling.
The other thing that slightly disappointed me was compared the other two doughnuts I just tasted, this one had a lot less filling in it. I'm not sure if that’s random or maybe it's because this white chocolate filling is that much sweeter than some of the other fillings so they chose to put a bit less of it in the doughnuts.
What gave this doughnut its name are the mini marshmallows that are placed on top of the hardened white chocolate ganache coating. I guess from sitting in the open air, the outside of the marshmallows hardened a bit. The hardening added a gummy-like texture to the marshmallow. I enjoyed that.
As a whole I liked the combination of the white chocolate ganache, white-chocolate cream filling and marshmallows, but it was very sweet. I think kids of all ages that enjoy super sweet treats will like this doughnut.
Gianduja DoughnutThe store manager described this doughnut to me by saying "it’s our take on what a Ferrero Rocher chocolate treat might be in doughnut form".
Gianduja, according to Wikipedia, "is a sweet chocolate containing about 30% hazelnut paste…In addition to the classic interpretation of gianduja, modern confectioners often term any combination of nut, chocolate and sugar as a gianduja…" Now I understand why Ne'eman called this doughnut gianduja.
The coating was thinner than the white-chocolate ganache used in the marshmallow doughnut. This gianduja chocolate did not harden like the white-chocolate ganache did, instead it was sticky and gooey and I liked that.
This doughnut, like the marshmallow one, also had a fairly small amount of the filling inside. That was a bit disappointing to me.
The sugared chopped nuts on top were a wonderful addition. The texture was perfect, not too hard yet still crunchy. I liked how they added a nice extra flavor and crunch. Mooi cookies should learn from Ne'eman how to make wonderful sugared hazelnuts that don’t make you feel like you might break a tooth on them. Ne'eman's sugared nuts worked perfectly with this soft and fluffy doughnut.
I really enjoyed this Gianduja doughnut. I was a bit surprised with myself that of all the doughnuts I tasted this was the one I was thinking about the next morning and it's the doughnut I suggested to my friend when she asked which one I thought she should buy.
Date Silan DoughnutThis Date Silan doughnut lived up to exactly what Ne'eman promised. It's flavored with chalva, white-chocolate ganache, date silan and pistachio nuts.
The filling is a very sweet chalva cream that I think Ne'eman uses in many of their chalva flavored pastries. On top of the doughnut they put white-chocolate ganache, shredded chalva strands, halved pistachios and a drizzle of date silan. All of the rich sweet flavors are clearly represented and yet, in my opinion, they work very well together. For the many Israelis that enjoy chalva, pistachio and honey flavors, this very sweet doughnut should be right up their alley.
I thought it was an original and creative combination of flavors for a sufganiyah. I liked it but it was a bit on the sweet side. I couldn’t eat too much of it. This time I got a nice amount of filling in my doughnut so with a hot cup of green tea a little went a long way for me, still it was an enjoyable treat.
Bottom Line: All the flavors I tasted really varied one from another and made the same basic and classic sufganiyah taste very different depending on the filling, coating and toppings. I thought Ne'eman did a good job coming up with flavors that work well together and with the doughnut. There seems to be a flavor for every palate. When I saw the ad I thought the cheese cake or the bamba flavored one would be my favorite but in actuality the one that I enjoyed the most was the gianduja doughnut.
If you try any of them let me know which you liked best. Chanukah Samach to one and all!!
Ne'eman's doughnuts range in price from 5.00-7.00 NIS depending on the fillings and toppings. When I bought the doughnuts they had a deal going of buy 5 get 1 free. I think that will continue throughout Chanukah but I am not 100% sure.
Kosher Dairy Badatzסניפים בתוך ירושלים בהשגחת בד"ץ מהדרין ירושלים מחוץ לירושים בד"ץ אגודת ישראל
Disclaimer: All items were purchased by me. No one is paying me for this review. All opinions are my own.