After reading this article about doughnuts in the NYT, I decided to give one of the recipes a whirl. Doughnuts are my favorite food. My order of preference for fatty, breakfast breadish foods: doughnuts, biscuits, bagel with cream cheese. Muffins? Forget it. If I'm going to have that much sugar and fat to start my day, it had better be a doughnut or even a piece of cake with frosting.
Anyway, after perusing my fridge and cupboards and consulting with my brother who is a fine baker, I decided to make the yeast doughnuts instead of the cake doughnuts. The recipe from the paper calls for a topping of sugar and Earl Gray tea. Isn't that awfully frou frou for a doughnut? I decided that I couldn't possibly go to all the trouble without making a chocolate glaze. Clearly I would have to try half of the doughnuts with chocolate and half with the frou frou tea topping. Then I realized I needed to try a plain glaze too.
The only problem with the yeast doughnuts is the fact that they have to raise a couple of times. For neither love nor money is there a chance that I could rise early enough to make these for breakfast. So it was doughnuts for dessert or in fact for my dinner, as it turned out.
I used the Kitchen Aid with the dough hook to make the dough. It was fairly straightforward. The dough is very sticky.
It was messy to handle. I coated my hands in flour, but I was afraid of using too much for fear of making the dough too dense. No one wants hockey pucks for doughnuts.
I rolled them out to 1/2 in thickness, cut them with a biscuit cutter into 2" circles. I decided the dough was to messy to think about holes. Besides, doughnuts without holes have more surface area for glazes and toppings.
While I was waiting for the doughnuts to raise again, I made two glazes and the Earl Gray topping suggested in the article. In order to get a really fine powder to mix with the sugar, I put the tea in a spice grinder (formerly a coffee bean grinder). It worked beautifully.
I also made a chocolate glaze that was basically a ganache by heating 1/2 c. cream and 1T butter to almost a boil then adding 4 oz of chopped, dark chocolate.
For the second glaze, I wanted something that was more like a traditional glaze but perhaps a tad more interesting. I mixed 1c. powdered sugar with cream, orange juice and vanilla. I added cream by the tablespoonful until the mixture was like a thick paste. Then I added the juice by the tablespoonful until the mixture was like a thin glue. I threw in a capful of vanilla for good measure. The end resulted tasted like an orange creamsicle! MMM.
Once the doughtnuts had risen. I heated the canola oil in a large, iron wok that I generally use for things other than stir fry. I dropped the doughnuts into the hot oil and watched them puff up into airy deliciousness. They cooked for about 45 to 60 seconds on each side. I had to turn the burner down for the last two batches because the oil was so hot.
I drained the doughnuts on paper towels and let them cool slightly. Then I dipped some of them into the glazes and some into the sugar and tea mixture.
The recipe made 30 doughnuts which is seriously a lot of doughnut for one person. I don't know how many I've eaten, but it's at least six because I had to try each topping twice. Then when I was finished I had to eat the leftover chocolate glaze because it would have been a shame to let a Caillebaut ganache go to waste!
I took a huge pile of doughnuts next door. My neighbors think I'm the fairy god-neighbor, and they are always glad to see me with a plate. I think the doughnuts turned out nicely. I'm not sure the effort is worth doing regularly but it is fun to do as a special treat. I also don't know what to do with half a wok's worth of used canola oil.
I imagine that this recipe would be a winner with kids. Plus kids would love dipping cooled doughnuts into the glazes, but keep them far away from the hot oil.
I liked all of toppings. The Earl Gray and sugar topping was surprisingly delicious. The bergamot, that flavour that makes Earl Gray what it is, gave the doughnut a high-brow, sophisticated boost. While it's hard to beat chocolate, I think my favorite topping was the vanilla orange glaze. Somehow it seemed to go best with the doughnuts. It was like an old-school glaze with a kick. The chocolate was almost too much. I thought it overpowered the airy, fried dough. My neighbor loved the chocolate, so it really is a matter of taste.
It will be a while before I can look at another doughnut. Now, I'd better figure out what to do with that canola oil.