The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.
Until recently I had it in my head that one should have a deep fryer in order to make deep fried foods. I kept rationalizing why I shouldn't even consider getting one, even when offered to me for free from someone in my family who actually has an "extra" one around. I feared having an appliance that served one purpose, and a kinda fun one at that, would mean I'd be deep drying everything in site and my already not too skinny body type would take a beating from just having it close by. Whatever small appliance company instilled that in my brain I'll never know, because that's just deep fried non sense! Those cannoli sure were a breeze to make in my humble stock pot with the aid of a thermometer and a strainer. And so were these doughnuts. Perhaps this is just as dangerous of a discovery as my fear of owning a deep fat fryer.
Truth be told, deep fried foods aren't something I feel I need more of, but every once in awhile there is a dessert that requires this technique and I do debate whether its worth the unpleasant smell and the vat of boiling oil. Doughnuts are certainly worth any small negatives and I tell you these little pillowly bites got my giddy on!
I've had Claudia Flemmings excellent dessert book, The Last Course, for years now and it remains just outside of my Desert Island Cookbook list. I'm not sure when exactly I spied these sugar and spice dusted doughnuts but when I learned of Octobers Daring Bakers challenge it didn't take me long to choose these for the challenge.
While there are indeed cake and yeast doughnuts, I tend to go for the yeasty kind. I think they have more flavour and seem more authentic, although I'm certain you could debate both sides. This dough was a simple egg and butter enriched sweet dough with a hearty dose of Orange Flower Water and tossed in a Cardamom and cinnamon sugar, making them definitely Middle East inspired. Next time having these alongside a rosewater pannacotta would not be a bad idea. The dough was quick and very basic in its technique with an important long overnight rest int he fridge to develop flavour. I loved the idea of cutting them into unconventional squares. While we all love the rings shape or the doughnut hole, the square made for almost no waste and no re rolled dough which always make for a tougher end product. They puff up so much that they still retain a doughnut whole appearance.
from The Last Course by Claudia Flemming
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp dry yeast
2 1/2 cups flour
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp orange flour water
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cardamom
1. Heat milk until warm, not hot, in a small glass measuring cup. Stir in 1/2 Tbsp sugar and yeast and set aside until bubbly.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, nutmeg and salt. In separate bowl whisk together egg, 3 Tbsp water and orange flower water. On low speed add yeast mixture, eggs mixture and melted butter mixing until just combined. Switch to dough hook and knead on med speed for about 12 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides and be quite elastic. PLace in a large greased bowl, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick. Chill 30 minutes to rest dough.
4. combine sugar topping ingredients.
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut dough unto 1 inch squares and place on baking sheet about 1/2 inch apart and cover with parchment. Place in a warm place for 30 minutes.
6. When ready to fry, place a large stock pot over medium heat and fill halfway with oil. You'll want to use about 1 gallon of oil. Bring oil to 375 and keep steady. Have ready a baking sheet lined with paper towels and a strainer ready. Carefully drop doughnuts in the oil, being sure not to crowd them, leaving room for them to cook evenly without bringing down the temperature. Fry about 1-2 minutes per side and lift out onto the paper towel. While still warm toss in the sugar mixture and serve warm.
2 cups milk
1/3 cup water
4 oz semi or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
fleur de sel or other course sea salt
Bring milk and water to a simmer. Add chocolate and whisk. Let come just to a boil whisking. Once boiled, remove from heat and whisk vigorously in the pot to create a froth. Pour into cups, top with a few crystals of salt and pass along the bottle of rum or everyone to add to their liking.