Simple Sugar-and-Spice Doughnuts
Makes about 3 dozen
It can’t get any simpler than this: a soft, easy-to-make, easy-to-roll-out dough that is quickly deep-fried in bubbling, hot, fresh peanut oil. It’s fun to watch the circles turn golden brown as they float around the top of the pan. A speedy flip, and in minutes a golden-brown and tender, warm doughnut is yours. A fast drain on paper towels and a quick toss in cinnamon-sugar, and you have the perfect accompaniment to a steaming cup of coffee or tea or a cold glass of milk.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
Approximately 6 cups peanut oil
Combine the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
Combine the cinnamon with 2 cups of the sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Set aside.
Place the butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer and begin beating. Add the remaining sugar and continue beating until the mixture is well combined. Add the eggs and continue beating. When well incorporated, begin adding the reserved flour mixture, alternately with the milk. Beat until a soft dough forms.
Lightly flour a clean, flat surface. Transfer the dough to the floured surface and lightly sprinkle the top with additional flour. Either pat the dough down or gently roll it out with a rolling pin to a thickness of about 1/2 inch. Using a doughnut cutter (a round cutter with a removable disk in the center to create the hole) or a biscuit cutter (if you use a biscuit cutter, you will have to carefully hand cut the center holes), cut out circles, reserving the “holes.” Gather up any remaining dough along with the “holes” and, again, pat or roll out the dough and cut out circles. Don’t discard any dough, as the bits and pieces of the leftover dough can be fried to make oddly shaped doughnuts.
Place a thick layer of paper towels on a flat surface.
Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 360 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add the doughnuts, a few at a time, and fry, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon, until the doughnuts have risen and are golden brown. Using the slotted spoon, gently lift the doughnuts to the paper towels to drain for just a few seconds. Then, transfer the doughnuts to the cinnamon-sugar mixture in the plastic bag and gently toss to coat them well. Remove the doughnuts from the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place them on a serving platter.
Drunken Fortune Doughnuts
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen
This might be called the hardworking man’s version ofthe classic New Orleans breakfast of warm beignets and café au lait. In the “Big Easy,” beignets are not just consumed at breakfast but are also indulged throughout the day, coated in confectioners’ sugar, piping hot, and puffy. Made from a rich choux paste, the New Orleans classic is crisper than my filled, raised doughnut, which I first created as a steak house dessert.
Drunken doughnuts, especially with the hidden fortune, are fun, rich, sweet, and intoxicating. When serving children, obviously you should omit the liqueur flavoring, but never the fortunes. When making the fortunes, try to re-create the look ofthe paper fortunes found in Chinese fortune cookies, and have fun with what you write.
1 1/2 cups fine-quality raspberry jam
1/4 cup framboise
1 cup warm water (about 120 degrees)
1 cup warm milk (about 120 degrees)
1 ounce yeast
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
2 pounds all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Approximately 6 cups peanut oil
30 handmade paper fortunes, optional
Approximately 1 cup confectioners’sugar
Combine the raspberry jam and frambroise in a small bowl, stirring to blend well. Set aside.
Combine the water, milk, and yeast in a large mixing bowl, stirring until the yeast has dissolved. Whisk in the eggs and oil until well combined. Using a wooden spoon, beat in 1 1/2 pounds of the flour. If the dough becomes too stiff to mix with a wooden spoon, use your hands to knead the dough together. When the flour is well incorporated into the dough, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place the dough in a warm spot to rest until doubled in size. This should take about 90 minutes.
While the dough is rising, mix the remaining flour with the granulated sugar, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. When the dough has doubled in size, knead in the spiced flour mixture, kneading until the mixture is smooth. Place into a large, clean bowl and again place in a warm spot to rest until doubled in size.
Lightly flour a clean, flat surface. Pat the dough out on the floured surface. Sprinkle the top with additional flour and gently roll out the dough to a thickness ofabout 1/2-inch. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out circles until you have used all ofthe dough.
Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 360 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add the doughnuts, a few at a time, and fry, turning occasionally with a slotted spoon, until the doughnuts have risen to the top and are golden. Transfer them to wire racks to cool slightly.
When just cool enough to handle, using a small, sharp knife, cut a small opening in one side ofeach doughnut and a tiny opening in the opposite side. Using a teaspoon, stuffa bit of the jam-liqueur mixture into the larger opening in each doughnut and tuck a fortune into the smaller opening. Place the doughnuts on a serving platter.
Place the confectioners’ sugar in a fine sieve and, holding the sieve over the platter, tap gently against the edge ofthe sieve to dust the doughnuts. Serve immediately.
SECOND DAY DISH
Stuffed Doughnuts with Whipped Cream and Berries
This is a very simple and very delicious Second Day Dish. The cream and berries soak into the day-old doughnuts and create a fantastic dessert. I thought of the wonderful French dessert, Paris-Brest, when I created this easy sweet. Traditionally, a Paris-Brest is a baked ring ofalmond-crusted choux paste that is split and filled with a praline cream. Using yesterday’s doughnuts and fragrant berries and sweet cream, this is a lot simpler to put together.
1 cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup blanched sliced almonds
6 day-old Simple Sugar-and-Spice Doughnuts (see page 26) or other plain doughnuts
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 pint raspberries
Combine the water and granulated sugar in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and allow it to cool.
Combine the cream and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until you are ready to use it.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
Place the almonds on a clean plate.
Using a bread knife, slice each doughnut in half crosswise. Dip both sides ofeach half into the cooled simple syrup to just dampen. Place the browned part ofthe top half into the almonds to coat evenly. Place the doughnut halves, split side down, on the prepared baking sheet and into the preheated oven, and bake for 12 minutes, or until the almonds are golden and the doughnuts are slightly crisp on the outside but warm and moist on the inside. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
Remove the chilled cream from the refrigerator and, using an electric mixer, beat for 1 minute. Add the 3 tablespoons ofconfectioners’ sugar and continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Place the doughnut bottoms, split side up, on a flat surface. Using a spatula, generously coat each bottom with some ofthe whipped cream. Nestle some raspberries into the cream on each doughnut. Using the spatula, lightly coat the split side ofthe doughnut tops with whipped cream. Gently place the top half onto the bottom, almond-coated side up. Place each doughnut onto a dessert plate. Sprinkle some raspberries around the edge ofthe plate. Place the remaining 1/4 cup ofconfectioners’ sugar into a fine sieve and, holding the sieve over each plate, tap gently on the edge ofthe sieve to lightly dust the entire plate. Serve immediately.
Excerpted from David Burke's New American Classics by David Burke and Judith Choate. Copyright © 2006 by David Burke and Judith Choate. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.