Doughnuts (or sufganiyot)
I'm not sure if they're donuts or doughnuts. 'Ugh' sounds ugly but with or without it, do(ugh)nuts and sufganiyot, the Israeli doughnut, are delicious.
They are however are an extravagence. It is very rare that you can justify getting some bread, add sugar, deep fry it, squirt in some jam and add more sugar. So if I'm going to eat them, I want to be sure that they are the very best. I think I've found the very best but they're a bit of a shlep, the Doughnut Plant is in New York and Roladin, has various outlets around Israel.
With my favourite doughnuts many miles from London, I was left with little choice this past Chanucah but to bake my own. In an attempt to limit the risk of being disappointed I went straight to Dan Lepard's recipe in Short and Sweet. These are excellent, truly delicious. Even my duff first batch tasted outstanding.
A couple of words on process. I deep fried in a saucepan using sunflower oil. I imagine that a deep fat fryer is ideal, but my method worked fine, once I had a sugar thermometer. My first go round I started making them before remembering I'd chucked out my old sugar thermometer. They were burned as a conseuqence. I then bought a decent thermometer and it made a massive difference.
Dan advises very long resting periods throughout. I generally didn't rest it quite as long as he suggested and I'm not sure my specimens were any worse off.
As ever, make sure to read the recipe fully before you start baking. This one requires a bit of planning.
Makes 6 doughnuts (I'd seriously recommend simply accepting that 6 is not enough and double up).
- 100ml warm milk
- 1tsp fast acting yeast
- 250g strong white flour
- 1 medium egg
- 25g caster sugar
- 25g melted unsalted butter
- 3tsp vanilla extract
- 2tsp glycerine (Dan says its optional, I disagree, I think it's necessary. Gives the doughnuts a beautiful, soft, smooth finish.)
- 1/2tsp fine salt
- sunflower oil for kneading and frying
- warm jam for filling
- icing sugar and ground cinammon (make sure it's fresh) for dusting
Mix the milk, yeast and 100g of flour and leave covered in a warm place/somewhere without a draft for 1.5hrs.
Whisk the egg and sugar until thick and pale with an electric mixer. Then beat with the yeast mixture, melted butter, vanilla and glycerine until smooth. Add the remaining flour and salt and knead it into a sticky dough.
Briefly knead the dough on an oiled work surface. Return it to the bowl and leave for 1hr. Knead a couple of times during that period.
Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Shape into balls and place on an oiled tray, cover and leave for 1hr.
Quarter fill a deep sided saucepan with oil, or your deep fat fryer, and heat to between 180°C/350°F and 190°C/375°F. This is when that thermometer becomes essential.
Fry the donuts in small batches. Keep a close eye on them as they brown. At this temperature, should take 1/1.5mins each side.
Remove from oil and drain on paper.
Make sure the jam is warm. Using the long nozzle on an icing bag, make a hole in the doughnut and squirt in the jam. I found I used a lot more jam than I'd originally thought.
Dip in the sugar and cinammon and eat.
In Dan's recipe he says that if you don't dip in the sugar then they can be reheated at a later date and are as though they are fresh out of the oven. I have to say, I didn't think they were quite that good and had gone a bit soggy.
Anyway, all you want to do is eat them fresh. The problems of reheating are academic.