Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Doughnut recipes

Although I am a Chablis-drinking, brie-eating, east coast elitist -- according to some people's definition -- I must confess that the humble donut is near the very top of my list of favorite foods. What's not to love about fried dough? Having said that, I do not consider Dunkin' Donuts much to shake a stick at.

While Durham lacks in serious donut-making, I was thoroughly delighed to see Amy Tornquist from Watt's Grocery mentioned in a NYT article on doughnuts. Her churros, fried dough coated in cinnamon sugar with a chocolate dipping sauce, get a special mention. An adaptation of her recipe accompanies the article.

In addition to Amy's recipe for churros, there are two other recipes. I am gearing up to give one of the recipes a try this weekend. I've never made doughnuts or beignets or anything of this sort.

I am wondering if I can use a deep, iron wok for frying. This is one of the rare occasions when a deep fat fryer might actually be useful. Hot oil terrifies me. Once I caught a roll of paper towels on fire when deep frying.

Will the effort and calories be worth the at-home effort or is it better to get a fried dough fix at Watt's Grocery or Rue Cler? I guess I'll find out. If anyone has any suggestions or tip on making doughnuts at home, let me know before I burn my house down this weekend.


vanessa said...

I've made donuts at home a bunch of times, and I fry them in a deep cast iron skillet or cast iron dutch oven. And I've never burned myself! I have, however, set off the smoke detectors.
-Vanessa (the girl from Saba)

K said...

What kind did you make?

phil said...

I am so with you about Dunkin' Donuts. I'm glad other they make other people happy, but the other people sure ain't me.

I suspect the wok would work just fine, and perhaps even more efficiently than a deep fat fryer. My intuition says that the surface area to volume ratio of a wok would be better than a deep fat fryer (too much volume for how much surface you need) or a big wide skillet (not enough volume for how much surface you need).

Speaking of woks and frying -- I remember a scene from maybe it was Iron Monkey in which a guy is making something like potato chips by cutting slices of some kind of tuber and flicking them with his knife into a wok. What's cool is that he's holding the vegetable in his left hand and cutting/flicking with his right, while standing five or ten feet away from the wok. All while chatting with some dude that might be his mortal enemy, or something like that.

vanessa said...

I made a donut recipe from "The Great Book of Couscous", oddly enough. They are called sufganiyot, I think?

Anonymous said...

I second Vanessa's suggestion of a cast iron skillet. The weight prevents it from tipping and the oil temperature stays consistent throughout the fry. I have made beignets many times and am looking forward to giving the churros a try.

Matt said...

Sufganiyot are a donut like creation popular in Jewish culture usually filled with jelly and served around Hanukkah. I hope you liked them. I've had them in the past and thought that they weren't bad.

There is actually a Beignet class in Raleigh and what use to be a beignet breakfast every Saturday. I don't know anyone thats mentioned it but look up.. Chef Rameaux (I believe it is)