Sup internet! I am writing to you from an Amtrak train. Exciting!
I tried my hand at doughnuts, using a recipe from Emojoie, who also provided the scones recipe I covered previously on the blog. I need to provide a disclaimer that this recipe is not a good one. I like the result, but I had to tweak it quite a bit to get anything resembling doughnuts. I did learn a lot, though! Let's get into it...
The recipe makes 6 dougnuts.
200g bread (or all-purpose flour) + 1 tsp flour for yeast
30g sugar+ pinch of sugar for yeast (0.5-0.5 gram)
1/2 whole egg (approx. 25g)
3 g active dry yeast (or 9 g fresh yeast)
12 g water
25g unsalted butter
40g lemon juice (2 lemons should be sufficient for this)
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
3 egg yolks
1/2 whole egg (optional)
17g cornstarch or potato starch
25g unsalted butter
I needed nearly 4.5 hours to complete this.
Take out your milk and unsalted butter for the dough from the fridge and let it get to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Once your milk and butter are room temp, add flour, sugar, milk, and egg into a large bowl. Mix everything together to form a dough. Leave it covered for 20 minutes. The original recipe says to cover with cling wrap. I am not sure if it matters.
While you're waiting, activate your yeast. In a small bowl, add yeast, along with around 12 g warm water. The water should be between 100 and 110 degrees F. Add a pinch of sugar and a teaspoon of flour to the bowl. Mix everything together. The mixture should become frothy in 5-15 minutes. If it doesn't, your yeast did not activate and you need to buy new yeast to make the dougnuts. The first pic here is right after I mixed the yeast together with the ingredients; the second is after around 10 minutes.
Once the 20 minutes is up, add the yeast to the dough. Knead the dough with a hand mixer (dough hook attachment) for around 3 minutes. Then add your room temperature butter and salt to the dough and knead with the hand mixer on high for at least 3 minutes. Your dough should get to the point where it is soft and fluffy and can be stretched to a point where it is slightly translucent. Below, you can see my finger is slightly visible behind the dough when stretched.
Cover the dough with a warm damp towel and let proof (rise) for 1 hour. The original recipe states to seal off the dough well, but this doesn't make much sense to me because the yeast needs oxygen. The original recipe also states that the dough should double in size. I never was able to get it to double. FWIW I didn't put the dough in a warm environment, but that would also probably help it proof well.
While the dough is proofing, make the lemon pastry cream.
Use a grater or microplane to zest your lemon into a small bowl. Then squeeze your lemons to add lemon juice into that bowl.
In a separate medium bowl, add egg yolks and optionally the half egg left over the dough prep. Add 1/3 of the sugar for the cream (this is ~28 grams of sugar) and whisk. Then add flour and starch.
In a pot, add milk and 2/3 of the sugar for the cream (this is ~57 grams of sugar). Do not mix. Heat the milk to 176 degrees F and then turn off the heat. Add the warmed liquid to your bowl of eggs. Then strain this mixture back into your pot and heat while whisking rapidly. When the cream starts hardening, add the lemon juice and zest mixture. Continue whisking for 30 seconds after the cream boils, then turn off the heat.
Then add butter and whisk until incorporated. Add the cream to a large plastic-wrapped baking sheet, spread evenly, then cover the top of the cream with plastic wrap. Cover the container and place in fridge to cool down.
Back to the doughuts
After your dough is proofed, put it on your work surface and divide the dough into 6 equal portions. I cut it up with a pastry scraper. Then, knead each piece into a ball and put each ball on top of a piece of parchment paper. I cannot figure out how to knead the dough into perfect little balls. My balls always have dimples. If you know how the trick, please tell me.
Cover the balls and let them proof for an hour, preferably in a warm environment. The original recipe specifies a partial cover in cling wrap, but I do not think this is important and proofing would probably be more effective with a damp towel.
When proofing is done, place oil in deep pan and heat to 325 degrees F. The amount of oil varies depending on the size or shape of your pan. You'll want enough oil so that the doughnuts can float in the oil.
Ocne the oil is heated, gently place each doughnut in the oil with tongs or similar. Fry for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Flip them several times in the process. The original recipe specifies to flip them by grabbing the parchment paper attached to each ball with tongs. This kind of worked for me but not every time.
Take the doughnuts out and place them a paper-towel lined sheet. When they are cool enough to be able to be touched, roll each doughnut in a bowl of granulated sugar.
Take the lemon cream out of the fridge and place in a large bowl. Use the hand mixer to whip the cream until smooth. Then scoop the cream into piping bags.
For each ball, cut a small slit into it with a knife. I created a cavity for the cream by placing a finger into the slit and pressing the dough into the sides of the doughnut.
Then pipe the cream into each dougnut. You will likely have some cream left over when you're done.
And voila, your doughnuts are done.
These doughnuts are very tasty. Fresh-fried doughnuts are really a treat. The dough is nice an liked fluffy. The cream is tasty and the lemon flavor comes through. I'm not really a huge fan of cream doughnuts but I wanted to try my hand at this recipe because the results looked so appetizing and I really like lemon.
As I mentioned before, this recipe required a lot of changes to work for me. The original recipe didn't even explain how to activate the yeast - it skipped over the required sugar and flour. I am going to try some other doughnut recipes in the future.