Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a good excuse

I don’t know If I ever mentioned it, but my husband and I are empty-nesters (except for the dog, but I’m not sure that counts). Both kids are away at college, one is in Chicago the other up the coast a few hours in Santa Barbara. So when the holiday’s come around I stock up on more food than usual and get in the mood to make things I wouldn’t normally make for just myself and the hubby.

Usually breakfast for me is a latte with an extra shot to get me going…sometimes I might grab a banana before I head out the door, but it always seems like they have just gone past their peel and eat stage to the “oh dear, I guess I better make banana bread stage”.

So with the Thanksgiving break in full swing, what better way to treat these worn out college kids than to make homemade doughnuts for breakfast…sinful I know, but so delicious!

These doughnuts are a fantastic breakfast, naughty snack or tasty dessert. The important thing is that they must be served warm and tossed in the spicy-citrus sugar. These little babies are great to dip into a fruit compote or even a chocolate sauce .


Doughnuts with Spicy-Citrus Sugar
A slightly adapted Jamie Oliver recipe

This recipe is from Jamie Oliver, I’ve modified the process in that I use my stand mixer…it was so much easier than the whole kneading thing.

1 ¼ ounce package active dried yeast
1/3 cup superfine sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups plus 2 Tbsp. whole milk, warmed until tepid
Zest of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 orange
5 ½ Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1 ¾ pints vegetable oil

For the spicy-citrus sugar
½ cup superfine sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp. ground allspice
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
1 vanilla bean, scored lengthways and seeds removed

Put the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer with a tablespoon of the sugar and a tablespoon of the flour and mix in the warm milk. Put in a warm place for about 15 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.

Next, put the rest of the sugar and flour, lemon zest, orange zest and butter into the bowl with the yeast mixture. Turn mixer on low to start bringing it together, then slowly speed it up, finally ending on a medium-high setting. Let the machine run until the dough begins to “slap” the sides of the mixing bowl and the dough looks smooth and silky. Then put dough into another bowl that has been lightly greased and cover with a clean damp kitchen towel and leave to rise for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size. When the dough has doubled in size, you can knock it back-this means you give it a bit of a punch to knock out some of the air so it can rise again later. This way your donuts will be light and fluffy. I actually did all this the day before, and then put the dough covered tightly into the refrigerator.

On a floured surface roll the dough out until it’s an even ½ inch thickness. Using a little cutter or small glass (approx. 2 inches in diameter) cut out about 25 little circles and pop them on to a greased baking pan to rise again, making sure there is sufficient gap between each one to allow them to spread. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes.

While you’re waiting for the doughnuts to rise, you can make the flavored sugar. Take all of the flavored sugar ingredients and mix thoroughly together; I used a mortar and pestle to break up the zest and vanilla seeds so that it would incorporate into the sugar. Put aside until after frying the doughnuts.

When the blobs of dough have almost doubled in size again, use a chopstick to make a little hole in the center of each doughnut. Now they are ready to be fried. Carefully heat the vegetable oil in a large deep saucepan. You can test the temperature by putting a leftover pea-sized piece of dough into the oil-if it sizzles and turns a golden brown after about a minute you oil is at the right temperature. Fry your doughnuts in batches. After about 2 minutes, when they are golden brown, carefully remove them with a slotted spoon, and place them on some paper towels to drain. While your doughnuts are still piping hot, sprinkle with the flavored sugar.

These are lovely eaten warm-feel free to pig out and eat them all in one go because they don’t keep very long.

1 comment:

  1. although i don't dare to make doughnuts, due to the frying and all, yours look absolutely delicious and light! great job (: