Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Why do we only hang chocolate shapes and cookies from garlands and trees? Why not doughnuts?
They already look like little wreaths, after all. Wouldn't it be a lovely addition to your autumnal table for a party? I'm always up for making dessert or a tea snack into a fun event in itself.
I threaded and knotted them onto a piece of raffia in a string, but you could also tie each one individually to a branch (a bit like the sweet cakes in this lovely tiger in a jar video). Or even your Christmas tree. (Apologies for the early use of the C-word, but I had to mention it...)
The book I adapted this recipe from, Doughnuts, is fabulous. I had no idea there were so many versions and creative options. These are cake doughnuts, so they're easy to make and very quick - no yeast involved.
The method for getting cake doughnuts into the oil without a fancy machine is so clever. You pipe them onto greased paper and then drop them into the oil on the paper, which then loosens and you can remove it. Forgive me if it is common knowledge, but I was fascinated.
I adore clementines (and satsumas and tangerines - how are we meant to tell them apart?). I used to eat them by the bagful as a child. My beautiful old dog Silver loves them too. Probably partly because when she was a puppy I used to peel them and play 'one for you, one for me' with her (sharing my clementines was a gesture of great love).
Clementines are traditional stocking fillers here. One Christmas my belief in a certain someone was fatally wounded when I found a packet of clementines I had carefully marked with a pen so nobody else ate them at the end of my bed...
I bought my first bag of the winter a few days ago and so these doughnuts were born. I was going to show you a photo of the insides but I lost track of my thoughts while shooting and ate the halved one. Whoops. What can I say - they're rather moreish.
Clementine Ricotta Doughnuts
(adapted from Lara Ferroni's Doughnuts)
For the doughnuts:
120g plain flour
40g caster sugar
1 and 1/3 tsp baking powder
grating of fresh nutmeg
pinch of salt
zest of a clementine
1/2 tsp vanilla
oil, to fry*
For the glaze:
50g icing sugar
1 tsp honey (to taste)
juice of 1 clementine (approx)
Sift the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and sugar into a bowl. In another bowl whisk the zest, eggs, ricotta and vanilla together. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combine - try to not overmix, but you don't want lumps of flour. Scoop into a piping bag and set to one side.
Decide how many doughnuts you'll be able to fry at once (I could do two) and cut that number of 4" squares of greaseproof/parchment paper. Grease the squares with a little extra oil. Place a wad of kitchen towels to the side of your stove. In a heavy bottomed pot with a thermometer (deep-frying or sugar) heat approximately 2 inches of oil to 360F. Pipe circles on the greased paper of about 3 inches.
When the oil hits the right temperature, lower one upside down into the oil (check with one, then do more). The paper will start to loosen - take it out with some heatproof tongs. Cook until golden brown then turn and cook the other side. This only took about 45 seconds on each side for me. Remove with a slotted spoon to the kitchen paper. Repeat until you've used all the mixture.
Sieve the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Add the juice bit by bit until you have a paste, then add the honey. Finally adjust the consistency with more juice until you have a thin glaze. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze (either one side or both). Set onto a wire rack.
*I used sunflower oil but safflower, peanut or canola also would be good.
(makes about 12-15 doughnuts)