Adapted from Gil Marks, Encyclopedia of Jewish Food
Quantity: about 12 4-inch cakes
1 package or 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110º F)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, several drops of dissolved saffron or several drops of orange, red, or yellow food coloring (optional)
peanut or safflower oil for deep-frying
Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup water. stir in the sugar and let stand until foamy, 5-10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture, remaining water, and if using, zest, into the well and beat with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. The dough will not be very thick. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Gently stir the batter down to deflate any bubbles, about 2 minutes. Cover and let rise another 30 minutes.
In a large pot, heat about 1 ½ inches of oil over medium heat to 375º.
Stir the batter down to deflate any bubbles. Place some of the batter in a pastry bag or a squeeze bottle with a ¼ to ½ inch nozzle tip. Moving from the center of the pan, continuously swirl the batter in a steady stream in circular motions to produce overlapping circles about 4 inches in diameter, taking about 20 seconds, to form a lacy coil. Fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Drain very briefly on a wire rack or on paper towels.
Sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Serve immediately.