Doughnuts. Donuts. Doughnut holes. Cronuts. They come in few shapes but many sizes. They remind us of our childhood, of the fair and of the beloved Homer Simpson. Doh!
About 5 years ago they seemed to take the world by storm. Artisan Donuts were popping up everywhere. Galactic iced wonders of the sweet world, filled with Biscoff, with Nutella, stuck with syringes full of extra jam and syrups: this humble dough took all forms and became the most Insta-perfect treat of the last decade. I was lucky enough to eat a doughnut the size of my face in Universal Studios, Florida, a few years ago and, let me tell you, I was not disappointed!
They have been on my "to-cook" list for some time and fall into a section of my professional cookery course which I haven't had much opportunity to practice: dough. So during the lockdown, aside from taking the time to work on breads and pastas, I had to give doughnuts a try.
Doughnut Top Tips
Use a mixer - if you can, use a mixer and dough hook because it will save a lot of fuss and hardship trying to knead wet, sticky dough. I do not have a mixer unfortunately so this was a very messy hands-on job for me. You cannot imagine the foul things I decided to call my doughnuts whilst making the dough.....definitely not suitable for a wholesome cooking blog!
Use a dough scraper - again, I did not have one, which caused me to yell obscenities at my son of a *&%$! dough, so I ended up using a rubber spatula as it was the only thing I could find. I've bought one now so my next doughs won't know what scraped em! They're just flat pieces of plastic which help you scrape and knead wet doughs off surfaces and divide them up nicely. You can get through without one but it's an inexpensive tool to have if you want to make your life a little easier and plan on making more dough in the future. You can also use them to ice cakes too!
Check your recipe - I made two doughs. One was a yeast dough which was kneaded, proved and shaped. This is ideal for filled doughnuts and is the recipe below. I also made a batter which was supposed to make ring doughnuts but it totally FAILED. A few recipes out there are for doughnut makers - the kind that looks like a sandwich toaster - and won't hold together in a deep fat fryer. You can use the recipe below and a cutter to make ring doughnuts, which is what I'll be trying next!
Fryers - if you have a deep fat fryer, use it and keep it at 180 degrees. Be careful when plopping your doughnuts in as hot oil is extremely dangerous. Doughnuts will burn quickly and easily so be very careful if you are doing this old-school in a makeshift-pan-of-hot-oil fryer!!
Drainage - make sure you have plenty wire racks over dishes or bowls to properly drain your doughnuts and another set up for after they're sugared.
It's a lot a fuss for a whole lot of joy: trust me it's worth it!
So without further ado.....
Jam Filled Doughnuts
Prep time: 3+ hours
Cook time: 5-10 mins per batch
Special equipment needed:
Deep fat fryer (or deep pan of oil and digital thermometer)
Metal slotted spoon (spider spoon)
2 tbsp Yeast
300ml Milk (warmed)
2 Eggs (beaten)
½ tsp Salt
50g Caster sugar
450g Plain flour
100g Butter (melted)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 Jar of Jam (your choice! Stir it up so it's all smooth and place it into a piping bag for later)
3 Litres vegetable oil for your fryer.
You will need an extra bowl of caster sugar ready to roll your doughnuts in at the end
Mix together the yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar and 4 tablespoons of milk. Leave this to get frothy (5-10 mins)
Sift the flour, salt and remaining sugar into a bowl and make a well in the centre
Once the yeast mixture is active (nice and frothy) pour this into the well in the bowl and add the remaining milk and eggs.
Mix together and begin to knead until the mixture forms a smooth dough with a consistent texture. If you are using a mixer, a ball of dough will naturally form within 5-10 mins of using the dough hook.
Cover the bowl and leave it to prove until it has doubled in size
Once risen, tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a smooth and elastic dough. It should be nice and springy and feel quite light still.
Use a dough scraper or knife to divide the dough into equal sections and shape into balls. You should get 24 nice sized balls. Remember they will look a lot smaller than usual as they need to prove again
Place the dough balls onto floured trays and leave to prove again until they have doubled in size. They will now look a bit more doughnut-sized and be very light and springy.
Heat your fryer to 180 degrees and very gently place 2-4 doughnuts at a time into the fryer. Once nicely gold on one side, flip them using your slotted spoon and cook the other side to the same colour
Remove from the fryer using a slotted spoon and place onto a rack to drain
Once drained, roll them in caster sugar generously and leave on a rack to cool
Repeat this process until all your doughnuts are cooked
FILLING! Use a knife to cut a slit in the side of the doughnuts. Insert the piping bag into the slit and gently squeeze the jam in. You will see and feel the doughnut plumping up, so go easy on it and try to feel when enough is enough! Repeat until all the doughnuts are filled.
See if you can eat the doughnut without licking the sugar from your lips! Enjoy!
You can put whatever filling you like inside. Try custard, Biscoffi, Nutella, lemon curd or even savoury fillings for a twist! You can also keep 'em plain and simply sugared, or glaze them or dip them in chocolate!
and remember, anyone can cook! C