Doughnuts

After a lot of misses and only a couple of hits, I think I've finally mastered doughnuts. It turns out the key to success is the deep fryer. I've tried them in a normal frying pan with no luck whatsoever. The deep fryer makes keeping the temperature stable a breeze.



I have to confess that I cheated and used my bread maker. As not everyone owns as many gadgets as me, here's the recipe as needed to make them by hand. If you do have a bread maker, and its not at the back of the garage beneath the camping gear, then add the ingredients according to your bread maker's specifications, set the knead to around 5 minutes, and raising to 45 minutes.

Doughnuts

4 cups flour
2 tspn dry active yeast
1 tspn salt
2 tbspn sugar
2 tbspn butter
1.5 cups milk, lukewarm
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Method

Mix the dry ingredients together. Rub in the butter. Combine the eggs and milk, and add to the flour, mixing to form a firm dough. Tip out on to a floured board and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap, and allow to rise until doubled in size, around 45 minutes. Roll the dough out on a floured surface. When around half to 1 cm thick, cut in to the desired shapes. A drinking glass and shot glass paired make good cutters for the classic doughnut shape, otherwise leave whole for jam or custard doughnuts.

Heat oil to around 160 degrees Celsius. Place the doughnuts in the oil and cook, turning often, until golden on both sides. Remove from oil and drain well.

Fill with jam, custard or cream, or top with a glaze or icing.

Variations

For chocolate doughnuts, add 2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa to the flour.

Fillings

I love custard doughnuts, and making them is easier than you would think.

1 cup milk
1/3 cup cream
1 tspn vanilla bean paste
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup custard powder.

Bring the milk, cream and vanilla to scalding point. Remove from heat. Meanwhile beat the egg and sugar together until tick and pale. Add the custard powder to make a paste. Add around half of the hot milk to the eggs. Whisk, then add the remaining milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard is very thick and no longer tastes flour-y.

When cooled, pipe in to the middle of your doughnuts.

For jam doughnuts, strain a little of your favourite flavour jam and pipe in to the middle.

Likewise, apple sauce makes a great doughnut filling.

If you prefer iced doughnuts, chocolate and strawberry are both simple.

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 tbspn milk
1/2 tbspn agave syrup
1 tspn flavouring essence
1/3 cup chocolate melts
1 cup sifted icing sugar

Combine the milk, butter, agave and flavouring. Heat until the butter has melted. Pour over the chocolate, and stir until melted. Add the icing sugar and blend until smooth. DIp the doughnuts in the icing and set aside until set. If you want sprinkles, add them while the icing is still molten. If you can't find agave, substitute corn syrup or glucose.

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