It doesn’t happen to me very often anymore—the last time was a disastrous shepherd’s pie over which we spent half an hour literally doubled over in laughter while making up alternate names for the recipe before we chucked it in the bin and headed to a restaurant for dinner—but I still have flops here and there. I have never made yeast doughnuts before, and perhaps this is what a homemade yeast doughnut is supposed to taste like, but I had higher hopes. When I began making the dough, I was envisioning a pillow of pastry, light and airy and almost weightless, the kind of doughnut that defies the logic of its size. These are dense and a little chewy, somewhere between a deep-fried ciabatta and a Pullman loaf. They taste nice, but they don’t belong in a Krispy Kreme lineup.
I thought these might be sweet for Valentine’s Day, a breakfast-in-bed surprise for someone who loves doughnuts. So I used a small heart-shaped cutter, filled them with good seedless raspberry jam, and rolled them in pink sugar. They are awfully sweet. Serve them warm with a cup of strong coffee or a glass of ice cold milk. And if you give them a whirl with loftier results, send me your tips.
Heart-shaped Jam Doughnuts Rolled in Pink Sugar
Yield: about ten doughnuts
Ten yeast doughnuts (recipe below) made using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter
½ c. sugar
3 drops pink food color
6 ounces good seedless raspberry jam (or other jam)
- Place the sugar and pink food color into a kitchen storage bag and massage until the sugar is uniformly pink.
- Pour the pink sugar into a bowl and roll the doughnuts in the sugar while they are still warm.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with an open tip with the raspberry jam.
- Twist the bag tightly at the top and insert the tip into the side of each doughnut. Apply gentle pressure at the twist to pipe jam into the center of each doughnut.
From Donuts by Elinor Klivans
Yield: about 10 3-inch doughnuts
¾ c. whole milk
3 T. unsalted butter
3 ¼ c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
½ t. salt
1 package (2 ½ t.) rapid rise yeast
2 large eggs
½ t. vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot but not boiling (about 125 degrees on an instant read thermometer). Remove from the heat.
- Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. In the mixing bowl, combine 2 ½ c. of the flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast and beat on low speed to mix.
- Add the hot milk mixture, raise the speed to medium, and beat until well blended.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated, about two minutes.
- Add the remaining ¾ c. flour and beat until the dough is well blended and smooth, about one minute longer. The dough will not pull away from the sides of the bowl and will still be somewhat sticky.
- Scrape the dough into a large bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let stand in a warm place until well risen and increased in bulk, about 45 minutes. (It may almost double in size.)
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or cellophane and brush it with oil. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels.
- Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Using a 3-inch pastry cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Use a wide spatula to transfer the doughnuts to the oiled paper. Gather up the scraps and repeat rolling and cutting out doughnuts.
- Cover the doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes. The doughnuts should look soft and puffy, but will not double in size.
- Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a deep fryer or deep, heavy sauté pan and heat until the oil reads 360 degrees on a thermometer.
- Carefully lower two to five doughnuts into the hot oil and deep fry until dark golden brown in color, about 1 ½ minutes. Turn over and cook until dark golden on the second side, about one minute.
- Transfer to the towel-lined baking sheet.
- Repeat to fry the remaining doughnuts, allowing the oil to return to temperature between batches.