Monday, 19 September 2011

Doughnuts

Recipe Number Ninety One:  Page 248.

Mmmmm...doughnuts. I find them impossible to resist! I don't normally buy them as I can't just eat one and they aren't exactly the healthiest of treats. To make my own seemed an odd possibility; I really had never considered making them before.

I made a start late afternoon; I did feel quite excited to think I was going to make some doughnuts! The first task was to weigh out a lot of plain flour before stirring in the crucial yeast. I went and collected a small amount of butter. Ahh, my long lost friend, how I have missed thee! I rubbed the butter into the flour and then stirred in some sugar. Next, I made a well in the flour mixture and tipped in a couple of beaten eggs. I had to warm some milk and water. I measured both into a cup and gave it a quick blast in the microwave. I know it might sound daft but I have developed a habit of testing the temperature by putting a drop on my wrist. It must be from testing milk for my son! I poured the now tepid water and milk in to join the beaten eggs. I like to mix bread by hand, so I dived straight in! After the initial messy part, the mixture soon came together to form a neat dough. When I placed the dough onto the worktop, I found it to be a little dry. Thankfully I resisted adding more liquid as, with a few minutes of kneading, it became smooth and elastic. I placed the dough back into the bowl and covered it with Clingfilm. It was quite a chilly day, so I decided to shove the bowl into the airing cupboard amongst the towels, bed sheets and goodness knows what else! After a rather lazy hour, I went and checked on the dough. It had already doubled in size, so I brought it back downstairs for what I had thought would be the fun part of adding the jam. However, first of all I had to knock the dough back and separate it into 16 balls. The dough balls then had to be flattened so that I could place a small teaspoon of raspberry jam into the centre. When it came to bringing the edges of dough around the jam and pinching to seal, well it wasn't as easy or as fun as I'd at first imagined! Let’s just say the air turned a little blue at this point! When I brought the dough over and around the jam, the jam oozed out. When I finally managed to seal the edges, the join burst open moments later, grrr!

I was really worried and quite frankly scared about cooking the doughnuts. I have never deep fried anything in my life, eek! I found my biggest saucepan and a large quantity of vegetable oil. In the book it says to use 2cm (5in) of oil. If I had used 5in, it would have reached the top of the saucepan! I assumed they actually meant to use two inches! That is still a heck of a lot of oil! To test to see when the oil was hot enough I had to throw a chunk of bread in. If, after 30 seconds, the bread had turned brown, it was at the right temperature. It didn't really help that I only had brown bread!!! The first piece just floated around not doing much, and came out oily and soggy. The second piece of bread was a different story; it sizzled a merry dance and came out crispy. This meant that it was time to add the doughnuts. I put four in at a time and they turned brown almost immediately. Mary says to cook on each side, turn only once, and they should take five minutes in total to cook. Well, my second batch was almost black as I stuck to the instructions too rigidly! The last few batches were better as I got used to what I was doing. It was terrifying when the oil found any leaked jam, there was a frantic sizzle and I honestly thought it was going to burst into flames. A real element of fear with this bake! Neil found me a polythene bag and I put into it some sugar and a little cinnamon. When the doughnuts had cooled off, each one in turn got thrown around in the bag until it was nicely coated in the sugar mixture. I have to say that this made them look like a doughnut, before they just looked like very brown, unappetising, uneven balls! Neil and I had a taste; I loved the sugar on the lips, which is exactly what you get with bakery bought doughnuts. The taste was the same, but could have done with more jam in the middle. Neil took some round to the neighbours as there was no way even we could eat all 16 and they are best when freshly made. We really enjoyed them. I prefer them to bakery bought doughnuts as they aren't squishy and they are delicious eaten whilst warm. However, I have to say I am still recovering from the terror of all that deep frying. I'm not sure that it is for those of us with a nervous disposition!!
Lip licking good!!! ;-)


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