Doughnuts have been on my to do list for a long old time now. I was always a little put off with the idea of them being pretty tricky so was happy to discover that they are in pretty damn easy. As long as you're patient and very careful at the frying stage you will be greatly rewarded for your efforts!
Last thursday I finally had the perfect excuse to give them a go. Not only did I have a whole day free, but I had also promised to make something sweet for the All Type No Face exhibition. I knew this would be the best way to go about it as I could eat 1 (or 3) and then give the rest away and watch everyone's faces as they took a big bite. I ended up jumping in head first and made a double batch so it was quite nerve racking waiting to try the first one. If you don't fancy the chocolate glaze or are a little pushed for time just add a little lemon juice or water, a few drops at a time to a small bowl of icing sugar till its at a glaze like consistency, like a medium thickness batter I'd say. Did I forget to mention, I also made french cruller doughnuts (which are made with a choux pastry) in the same day. Amazingly light and bubbly, they didn't even make it out of the house, which means my plan did backfire slightly. But you live & learn!
You will need-
For the doughnuts- makes around 15 depending on chosen size
- 15g fresh yeast or a 7g sachet of fast action yeast
- 100ml whole milk, lukewarm
- 200g strong white bread flour, plus extra for rolling out
- 50g unsalted butter, diced
- Pinch of salt
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- Sunflower oil for frying
For the chocolate glaze
- 150ml double cream
- a small cube of butter
- 1tbsp dulce de leche
- 150g dark chocolate
- Pinch of salt
- Sprinkles or your choice of decorations
To begin, crumble the yeast into the lukewarm milk and leave for a few minutes to get going. Meanwhile, rub together the flour and butter with your finger tips till its a sandy consistency and then add the salt and sugar- this can also be done in a stand mixer with a paddle attachement. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and then pour in the yeast & milk mixture along with the beaten egg. Mix well to make a soft dough. You may need a little more flour if the mixture is really wet but add very little at a time. If using a stand mixer now change to a dough hook, otherwise turn the dough onto a floured surface and kneed for around 8 minutes or till the dough is really smooth. When you are happy with the dough place it in a greased bowl cover with clingfilm (a clean shower cap works amazingly well too) and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or till it has doubled in size.
When the dough is ready to go knock the air out and then roll out onto a lightly floured surface. You want it to be about 1/2 inch thick. Next its time to cut your doughnuts out. I used a 7cm round biscuit cutter and the wide end of a piping tip for the little hole. Place cut doughnuts on a lightly floured surface as you go, you will need to keep reforming the dough and rolling out the excess pieces till you have used it all up. Cover the doughnuts with clingfilm and leave to rise again for 40 minutes or till doubled in size.
When the doughnuts are nearly ready add your oil to a heavy based saucepan. Its a pretty good idea to use a thermometer so you can keep the temperature constant. You're looking for it to reach and stay between 180C & 190C. Get your production line ready with a cooling rack and kitchen paper on hand. I used a fairly small saucepan so fried 1 doughnut at a time, be careful not to overfill as this will cause the oil to bubble over and can be very dangerous. I found a slotted spoon and a bamboo skewer were the best tools for the job, the slotted spoon is best for gently lowering the doughnut into the oil without deforming it and the bamboo stick (or a chop stick) is great for flipping it over and taking it out.
Once the minute is up remove onto kitchen paper and leave it there for a minute or so to soak up some of the oil. Place on a rack to cool.
Keep going till you have fried all of the doughnuts and then take the oil off the heat and leave to one side to cool completely.
Whilst the doughnuts are cooling make the chocolate sauce. Bring the cream, dulce de leche & butter to a simmer in a small pan and stir till nice and smooth. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the cream mixture over it. Stir till it has all melted and then add a pinch of salt.
To decorate dip one side of the doughnuts in the chocolate and then top with your sprinkles.
The doughnuts are best the day they're made, so eat them as soon as they're made if possible, I don't imagine this being very difficult!