Have been desperate desperate desperate to make some doughnuts for a long time now. I want to make lots, really, in all kinds of flavours and glazed with all kinds of colours and chocolates and sprinkles and... I have proper little daydreams about it. Have recently started following Sidecar Doughnuts on Instagram which is killing me a little bit, too. Talk about living the (doughnut) dream!
So I was dying for an excuse to make some doughnuts of my very own, and finally got one (isn) when we were invited to a Halloween bash by Pablo's best bud Edie. I have about 10 recipes I'm eager to test, and I started with Richard Bertinet's little beignet style ones (except I totally cheated and used the Kitchenaid - sorry Richard! I still need to buy a dough scraper, in my defence...)
250ml full fat milk
15g fresh yeast (I actually used 14g dried yeast as had no fresh, and it was fine
500g strong bread flour
60g unsalted butter at room temperature
40g caster sugar
2 large eggs
500ml groundnut oil for frying
caster sugar for dusting
filling (jam, creme patissiere etc) - optional
Heat the milk until it is "body temperature" - neither warm nor cold - in a saucepan. Mix the yeast into the flour by hand (if it is fresh yeast, rub it in as you would making a crumble), then rub in the butter (I had cut mine into little cubey shardy bits). Add the sugar and salt, then the eggs and the milk.
If you are working the dough by hand, you need to follow Richard's method - which involves lots of stretching and lifting the dough until it comes together. Do not add more flour even though it seems super sticky! If using a mixer with a dough hook (like me) pop it on a medium speed for approx 6 or 7 minutes, until the dough comes together in a smooth, elastic lump. Shape the dough into a ball.
Rest the dough for 1 hour in a lightly floured bowl with a damp tea towel or some cling film over the top. Preferably pop it somewhere warm, but I know we don't all have agas and airing cupboards (I have neither) - don't panic, it will still rise. It may take a bit longer than an hour somewhere not-so-warm, so keep an eye on it - you want it to double in size.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Divide the dough into three. With each piece, flatten with the heel of your hand into a rough oval shape. Fold one side into the middle and use the heel of your palm again to press it down and seal. Repeat with the other side, then fold the whole thing lengthways into a long sausage shape, sealing the long edge. Cut this shape into 30g pieces (I weighed them! They don't have to be bang on 30g, of course, just thereabouts). Work each piece into a ball by folding the edges into the centre and pressing down well, rotating the ball of dough in your hand as your go. Do this a few times, then roll the ball in your hand to to smooth the sealed edge. Pop them on a lightly oiled, lightly floured baking tray under a damp tea towel and leave to prove for 45ish mins. They balls should about double in size.
Heat your oil to deep-fry stage in a 20cm saucepan (about 180C - if you have a thermometer use it! Richard said it would take about 15 mins to get this hot on a medium heat, but after 10 minutes mine was smokingly, screamingly way too hot and I had to turn it off to give it a minute to calm down. Whoops!) Be very careful lowering the dough balls into the oil on a slotted spoon. Obviously the oil is dangerously hot so avoid getting any closer than you have to! Pop about 5 doughnuts in at a time. After 30-45 seconds, turn them over to fry the other side (you can tell by the colour when they are ready). Then remove and leave to cool on some kitchen paper...or a muslin, if you have no kitchen paper but an abundance of baby muslins!
Because they were for a Halloween party I conjured up all kinds of ambitions to fill them with coloured creme patissiere or make some home made jam, but typically ran out of time and had to buy a jar of jam. A tiny bit of foresight and an Amazon Prime membership meant I had this badass instrument ready to help me out with the next step. But in theory a piping bag and nozzle would do the job. Pablo was an ace little helper and it was actually a really fun project for him - especially the tasting bit. We might have consumed a few in various states of jam-filled-ness...
The verdict in the end was that they were DELICIOUS. And very easy to make. Only trouble is now I can't stop eating them...