I doughn’t know what it is about this recipe, but I am so happy that my first forays into yeasted concoctions have been deep fried, covered in sugar and filled with dreamy deliciousness.
There’s something incredibly satisfying about kneading a dough by hand, and certainly no smell more comforting than fresh, floury products. Unfortunately I can’t eat these in any way, shape or form given my celiac disease, but I absolutely adore the process of making something that literally rises to the occasion. I am, however, curious to experiment at some stage with what will inevitably be inferior gluten free renditions, but for now, here is the unadulterated, gloriously glutinous version.
These are real-deal doughnuts: I’m unfortunately not about to accept baked versions as anything more than doughnut-shaped cakes, which are undeniably tasty in their own right, to be sure, but doughnut to try to tell me that they can compare to their yeasted, fried, sugar dusted counterparts. These really are in a league of their own, and try as I might to come up with a combination more blissfully simple than jam and custard, I’m not about to mess with what I know works.
Beyond having a sugar thermometer, I haven’t used any fancy equipment here at all. Case in point is the aforementioned empty red wine bottle used effectively in lieu of rolling pin. I’m making do in a small apartment kitchen, with a KitchenAid free-standing mixer-shaped void in my heart. If I can do it on a Friday before going to work the weekend, so can you. The beauty of this recipe is its preparation is flexible, allowing you the smug satisfaction of being able to share them whilst they are still warm when the occasion calls for it.
Makes ~30 small 1.5inch diameter doughnuts
For the dough:
- 11g dry yeast
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons full cream milk at lukewarm temperature
- 60g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 egg yolks
- 440g plain flour
- 100g butter, softened
- Plenty of vegetable oil for frying (I use around 750ml of canola oil)
For the creme patissiere:
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup cream
To dust/fill: 100g jam (I used storebought raspberry), custard, 100g caster sugar for dusting
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yeast, caster sugar and milk. Set aside for the yeast to activate and dissolve for 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and whisk to combine. With a spoon, mix in half of the flour – the dough should still look quite liquid. Add the rest of the flour, and knead with either a dough hook or your hands. When the flour is fully combined, add cubes of the butter gradually, kneading well after each addition. The dough is ready to rise when you can stretch a small portion of it with your fingers to create a semi-translucent “window” (windough).
- Remove the dough from the bowl briefly to grease the bowl so it doesn’t stick, replace, then cover the ball of dough with plastic wrap. Transfer to a warm place to rise for an hour, or alternatively the fridge to rise overnight (remove from the fridge one hour prior to doing the second proof). The dough should approximately double in size and feel more light and puffy in texture.
- On a well-floured bench, roll the dough out with a wine bottle/rolling pin to about half an inch thick. Cut into circles (I used a 1.5 inch scone cutter), and either leave out on the bench covered in a tea towel for a further hour to rise again, or do as I did and place on a greased baking tray covered in cling film to rise in the fridge overnight. (Caution: only refrigerate this dough once when letting it rise)
- While the dough is rising, prep the creme patissiere. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Heat the milk, cream and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat until starting to bubble. Pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks and whisk together until smooth before transferring back to a lower heat. Whisk the mixture constantly for around 3 minutes. It will start to thicken and is ready when it is the consistency of soft butter. Remove from heat immediately and transfer to a bowl to cool. This can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a few days prior to using. (Note: I find my creme pattisiere has a tendency to become lumpy – possibly as I need to invest in a better whisk. I remediate this by straining the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps, leaving me with a beautifully smooth filling.)
- When ready to fry, remove the dough from the fridge if having been left overnight for at least half an hour before cooking. In a deep frying pan, cast iron skillet or wok, heat an inch or so deep of oil to 175C/350C (I use a sugar thermometer to check this). Fry the doughnuts for around a minute or so each side, watching the temperature as you do so – if it is too high, the outside will brown before the inside can properly cook. Remove from the oil and place on paper towels to drain and cool.
- Cover the doughnuts liberally with two coats of caster sugar. Fill a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle with a mixture of the creme patissiere and jam. Use the nozzle to inject filling into each of the doughnuts. Serve ASAP, however deliciousness is maintained at least for the first day following their creation (mine have never lasted more than 12 hours).