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Thursday, October 6, 2011
A few weeks back, a coworker gave me a copy of the new Top Pot cookbook - Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts: Secrets and Recipes for the Home Baker. I've been wanting to try my hand at donut making for awhile now, and this was just the nudge I needed. Apparently, it was also the nudge I needed to get back to blogging a bit.
I procured the ingredients I needed, and last night made the surprisingly simple batter for cake donuts, which then rested in the fridge overnight.
This morning, I got up bright and early (for me) and got to work, first on the glaze - which I made from some failed freezer jam I tried to make using blackberries foraged from our neighbors overgrown yard. Then I started on a batch of four dozen chocolate chip cookies (for my students on the last day of class this afternoon), and finally on the donuts themselves.
It turns out cake donut dough is more like batter, and very difficult to keep in a specific shape. I executed one actual donut shaped donut, before resigning myself to making donut holes. Problem with those is they roll around in the oil, and it can be difficult to get them to cook evenly. Finally, I figured out that a hole poked in the middle of a donut hole would make it a little like a mini-donut.
What I realized I really need is one of these things. Next batch I make, I'll invest in one.
After getting glazed* and cooling a bit, I packed up the donuts and cookies and headed to work - where the donuts went fast and received a great response. It felt good to spend the morning working hard to create something for people to enjoy. Maybe there is a future in baking for me someday.
Simple Cake Donuts
315 g cake flour
1 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
130 g sugar
2 Tbspn shortening
1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup whole milk
Canola oil for frying
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl, and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the sugar and shortening together for 1 minute on low speed, until sandy. Add the eggs and mix for 1 more minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl if needed, until the mixture is light colored and thick. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three separate additions, alternating with milk, mixing until just combined on low speed. The dough will be very sticky. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover directly on the surface of the dough with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours.
Heat your oil to 370 degrees F. Gently roll the chilled dough on a counter floured with 1/4 cup cake flour, rolling to 1/2 inch thickness. Be sure to flour the rolling pin, and flour the top of the dough before rolling to avoid sticking. Cut into doughnuts and holes - just a few at a time - transferring them to the oil with a metal spatula. Try to shake off excess flour before adding them to the hot oil - a few at a time. Once they float, fry for about 60 seconds per side. Flip them over when you see a deep golden brown color creeping up from the bottom. Remove from oil and place on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to capture oil and eventually the glaze).
350g confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 tspn light corn syrup
1/4 tspn iodized salt
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1 Tbspn berry jam
1/3 cup hot water
Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and all the sugar is incorporated. If the glaze seems too thick, add more hot water, 1 tspn at a time.
To glaze donuts, dip one side of each hot donut into the warm glaze then invert and place on the cooling rack to dry.
*Per advice in the book, I stuck with a glaze because I didn't have time to let the donuts cool - which is required for icings. Glazes are applied while the donut is hot and the glaze is warm, so they create a thin coating of sugary goodness.