So I took a look at my cooking resolutions for this year and realised I’ve not made a start on one of them. Not a one. It was clearly time to rectify that, so I chose to start with doughnuts. The first thing to note is doughnuts are not a fair weather food. Not because you have to keep moving them around, and proofing and refrigerating and proofing them, but because if you’re deep-frying something you need to wear long sleeves. And socks. No kidding. Splatters of 200-degree oil on your arms hurt a lot, even if they only hurt for a very short amount of time. So done up in my protective gear on one of the hottest days of the year so far I was pretty toasty.
The second thing to note is doughnuts go stale quickly. These are not a prepare-in-advance-and-serve-the-next-day-to-wow-your-guests kind of food. These are a start-making-just-after-lunch-and-by-tea-you’ll-have-fresh-doughnuts-on-the-table type food, which then have to be gobbled up as soon as possible. They’re perfectly edible the day after, but not a patch on when they’re still slightly warm, so don’t get excited and make too many. This batch size is perfect for 2 greedy people plus a few doughnut holes left over to hand to passing friends/have for breakfast next day dunked in tea.
Raised ring doughnuts and doughnut holes
Adapted slightly from Lara Ferroni
90ml milk, warmed
1 1/2 teaspoons dried active yeast
1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend
2 additional tablespoons warm milk
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
Another 3/4 cup gluten-free flour blend
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Vegetable oil for frying
Sugar for coating
1. In a small bowl measure out 90ml of warm milk. Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast over the surface of the milk. Then stir in a scant 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend until you have a thick, sticky paste. Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm place to rest for 30 minutes.
2. In a large bowl add the two spare tablespoons of warm milk, and half a teaspoon of yeast, and mix together. Add the rested flour and yeast mixture, as well as the vanilla extract and 2 egg yolks, and beat well. Stir in 1/2 cup of gluten-free flour blend, the tablespoon of sugar and the salt until well mixed. Then add the 2 tablespoons of softened butter, and mix until completely incorporated. At this point the dough should be fairly cohesive but still quite sticky. Add a little more flour, a tablespoon at a time, into the dough until it becomes smoother. Work the dough with your hands so you can tell when to stop adding flour. It should be a smooth ball, with just a touch of tackiness on the surface. Then cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to prove somewhere warm for 30 minutes.
3. Once proved gently flatten the dough a couple of times with the heel of your hand, then move the dough, still covered, to the fridge for an hour. This will improve its flavour and make it easier to work with. When ready to make the doughnuts, remove the dough from the fridge. Roll it out into a round 1/2 inch thick and cut out 3-inch doughnuts from it, with 1-inch holes. Cut any remaining dough that’s not quite big enough for a full doughnut into doughnut holes. Lay these on a greaseproof paper-lined tray and cover with clingfilm. Leave to prove one final time in a warm place for about 30-40 minutes, or until roughly doubled in size.
4. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a small, heavy saucepan until it reaches 180 C. When you lower a doughnut hole in the oil it should bubble slightly and the dough should turn brown on the underneath side in about 1-2 minutes. Cook the doughnuts and holes a few at a time. Don’t crowd the saucepan or the temperature of the oil will become considerably lowered. Use a slotted spoon to remove the doughnuts from the oil and drain on a wire rack over paper towels for at least 10 minutes before even poking the doughnuts; they will be very hot. After 10 minutes carefully roll each doughnut in sugar, brushing off the excess.
Makes 4 doughnut rings and 10 doughnut holes.