Remember when I said that J-Cat likes to cook things that have good potential for being disastrous? Well he has truly proven this over the last few weeks, tackling several tricky recipes - most involving vats of oil. He's made French bistro-style fries, fish and chips, various crepes and blintzes, and much more. This weekend, he tackled one of my great loves in life: sugar raised doughnuts.
This was actually not his first foray into the world of doughnuts. A couple of weeks ago he made some delightful spiced cake doughnut holes. But the sugar raised is - in my opinion - the pinnacle of the doughnut repertoire. Simple, light, sweet but not overpowering, chewy, yeasty, almost melts in your mouth. It's not fussy, it's not fancy, it is just the essence of doughnut.
These were a bit of a handful, but they were quite successful. I helped J-Cat with the second part of the process - the rolling/cutting/frying/sugaring part, ie. the fun part. It was certainly an adventure, and there really is nothing like eating a freshly fried doughnut just minutes after it comes out of the oil, as soon as it is cool enough to handle. A touch of a crisp exterior, a light and airy interior, a good bite. I think perhaps our choice of canola oil to fry was not ideal for flavor, there was a mild flavor almost like soy milk that I am guessing was due to the oil. It was not a bad flavor, it would probably just be a little better without it. We're looking forward to trying this one again, but next time we'll make sure there are a few more people around to eat a dozen doughnuts within the few hours before they go stale...recipe after the jump:
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Old-Fashioned Cookbook
Yields approximately 1 dozen large donuts and holes
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages active dry yeast
1 3/4 cups very warm milk (120º to 130º)
1/3 cup shortening
Mix 2 cups of the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, salt and yeast in large bowl. Add milk, shortening and eggs. Beat on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently. Stir in remaining flour until smooth. Cover and let rise in warm place 50 to 60 minutes or until double. (Dough is ready if indentations remain when touched).
Turn dough onto generously floured surface; roll around lightly to coat with flour. Flatten dough with hands or rolling pin to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with floured doughnut cutter. Push together scraps and gently knead 2 or 3 times. Flatten dough to 1/2-inch thickness; cut with floured 4-inch doughnut cutter. Cover doughnuts and let rise 30 to 40 minutes or until double.
Heat oil (1 1/2 to 2 inches) in Dutch oven to 350º. Slide doughnuts into hot oil with wide spatula. Fry about 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Remove carefully from oil (do not prick surfaces); drain on paper towels. Roll or shake in sugar.