Doughnuts

There’s nothing like a fresh doughnut, such as the ones you can get at doughnut Plant on Manhattan’s lower east Side. But depending on where you live, you might have no choice but to make your own. You’ll be glad you did.

Serves

Makes 20

Preparation Time

25 minutes, plus cooling

Resting Time

5 hours

Cooking Time

2 minutes per doughnut

WHAT YOU NEED

Dough

70g coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted
350ml milk
820g (5 cups) plain, all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons dried yeast
115g caster (superfine) sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
11/2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
11/2 teaspoons fine salt

Frying

1L (4 cups) oil for frying (or more depending on
the size of the pot)
Check the label on the oil. It should specifically
indicate that the oil is appropriate for frying.

Doughnut Fillings
For 1 doughnut

1 tablespoons filling
1 piping (icing) bag

Vanilla custard

3 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
40g sugar
1 pinch salt
210ml milk
2 egg yolks
25g unsalted butter
Vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds
scraped

Doughnut Glazes
Honey

125g (1 cup) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon acacia or other light honey
40g unsalted butter, melted
11/2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

Vanilla (white)

175g icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
11/2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
Add the milk gradually as you mix. Add
more milk if it’s too thick to dip, but the idea
is for the icing to be as thick as possible so
that it will be opaque when it sets.

Maple syrup

11/3 cups icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
45ml maple syrup
1 pinch salt

Chocolate

25g unsalted butter, melted
40g chocolate, melted
110g icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons hot water
The butter and chocolate can be melted
together over low heat in a saucepan or
double boiler.

WHAT TO DO

The Dough

1. Combine the coconut oil or butter with the milk. Combine the flour with the yeast and sugar. Mix the eggs with the yolk, vanilla and salt.

2. Combine the three mixtures together. Knead until the dough is very elastic (5–10 minutes in a machine, 10–20 minutes by hand).

3. Form a smooth ball of dough, place it in a greased container and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise at room temperature for about 11/2 hours until it has doubled in volume, then refrigerate for at least three hours.

Shaping the Dough

1. Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Use a cookie cutter to cut out perfectly circular or rectangular shapes. Using a large cookie cutter and a small one for the centre will produce the classic wheel shape of a doughnut.

2. For filled doughnuts, the larger circle without a hole cut out is traditional.

3. The dough scraps can be gathered up into a new ball, rerolled and recut one time. To avoid a second lot of scraps, make regular shapes using a pastry cutter, leaving little-to-no excess dough between cuts, or use the pastry cutter from the get-go to avoid scraps all together. It depends how important the look of the doughnuts is to you.

4. Place each shape on an individual piece of baking paper (otherwise it is difficult to pick up the doughnuts without damaging them when it comes time to fry).

5. Sprinkle flour to prevent the doughnuts from sticking together, cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow them to rise at room temperature for about one hour until they have doubled in volume again.

The Frying

1. Heat the oil in a pot until it reaches 180°C or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns golden brown in 15 seconds.

2. Using the pieces of baking paper to move the doughnuts, drop two or more at a time into the hot oil. Cook for about two minutes on each side until golden. Let the oil reheat for about 30 seconds between batches.

3. Place the hot doughnuts on a wire rack or paper towels to drain excess oil.

4. Allow to cool before glazing.

Doughnut Glazes

1. For each glaze, simply mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl with a spoon or fork until combined.

2. Then, holding the doughnuts in one hand, dip them in the glaze, turning them over the bowl to allow the excess to drip back into the bowl before placing the doughnuts on a wire rack to set.

3. A little hot water can be added to any of the glazes if they have become too thick. If topping with chopped nuts, do so before the glaze sets to ensure they stick.

Doughnut Fillings

Doughnuts are often filled with either jam or jelly and dusted with icing sugar – “jelly doughnuts” – or filled with custard and topped with a chocolate glaze – “Boston creams”.

The technique for filling a doughnut

Place the filling (about 11/2 tablespoons per doughnut) into a piping bag fitted with a plain narrow nozzle.

Poke a hole in your doughnut using a chopstick or something similar. Insert the nozzle into the hole and gently squeeze the filling into the doughnut.

The doughnut will puff up and, when full, the filling will start oozing back out of the hole.In addition to jelly or jam, vanilla custard (vanilla pudding if you eat it on its own) makes a great doughnut filling.

The Mixture

Make a slurry with the cornflour, sugar, salt and about 1 tablespoon of the milk. Mix the egg yolks with the rest of the milk. Combine the two mixtures in a saucepan.

Cooking

Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly. At the first sign of bubbles, remove from the heat but continue to whisk. When the custard starts to get smooth and thick, almost like a mayonnaise, stir in the butter and the scraped vanilla bean and seeds. If the custard needs to thicken, return the saucepan to a medium heat and stir constantly until thickened.

Tip the custard into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.


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