Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Daring Bakers make doughnuts!

As soon as this challenge, chosen by Lori of Butter Me Up, was announced, many of her fellow Canadian members of the Daring Bakers came out of the woodwork and enthusiastically talked doughnuts. My favourite childhood doughnut memory is of pulling out my mother's deep fryer and making a batch of nutmeg scented cake doughnuts after school with my brother. We would roll and cut out a few, then give up and fling blobs of dough into the fryer. They were usually too big and uncooked in the centre, but we didn't care. We just tried to make and eat as many as possible before my parents got home. I'm sure they had nightmares about us burning the house down.
Ode to Tim Horton's: maple brown butter glazed cruller

Many folks also talked about Tim Horton's, and how they miss it when they're away from Canada. Tim Horton's is ubiquitous here, with outlets from coast to coast (but not coast to coast to coast, like the CBC), selling doughnuts, coffee, soup and sandwiches. You can actually plan your journey across Canada and map out all the Timmy's. Weird. Many people look down on Timmy's, but I have been known to have a cruller and a coffee. In fact, I had done just that the day this challenge was announced. My strangest encounter with this Canadian icon was walking down the road in Belfast a few years ago and seeing a giant Tim Horton's ad. Turns out that some gas stations there sell plastic-wrapped doughnuts and frothy 'cappuccino' out of an automated machine, kind of like what you'd see in a hospital waiting room. Well, not in a Canadian hospital, because they all have Timmy's outlets. :)
That irresistible custardy interior!
I really wanted to make crullers, as they are my favourite kind of doughnut, so I made these on Thanksgiving morning. They are made with the same dough used to make cream puffs, and they came together really quickly and easily. They did not hold their ridged shape when fried, but that was my fault, as I didn't let the dough cool enough. I am famously patient in my family, but not that day! I glazed them with a mixture of brown butter, maple syrup and icing sugar, and they were fantastic. I took a plate to my brother and his family, and my 2-year-old nephew ate 2 and started zooming around, yelling 'YUM!' and rubbing his and everyone else's tummies. Then he refused to have a nap. That's what aunts are for, right? Anyway, the cruller recipe was not one of the challenge ones, so I had another date with the deep fryer.
The amazing spherical doughnut!
I invited a couple of friends over for brunch and made the yeast doughnuts from the challenge. Marcellina had made some gorgeous cardamom doughnuts filled with raspberry jam, and I wanted some, but she lives in Australia, so I made my own half recipe and replaced the nutmeg in the recipe with cardamom. For the filling, I used the plum jam I had made for a Daring Cooks' challenge. Rather than inject the jam in the fried doughnuts, I rolled the dough thinly, cut it with a 2½" cutter, filled with a teaspoon of jam, covered with another round of dough, and cut the filled doughnut with a 2" cutter. I then left them to rise while I prepared the rest of the brunch. They didn't rise that much, but when I put them in the oil they puffed right up, becoming this bobbing ball of energy that was impossible to corral and turn over (kind of like my nephew on doughnuts). Anyway, cooking these was a team effort, and lots of fun. We let them cool while we ate brunch, being a bit wary of eating super-hot jam.
I kept taking bites, looking for the perfect shot. I never got it,
but this one looks kind of happy, and I got to eat 2 more doughnuts.
These were good too! They were a touch warm and not too sweet (mostly because I wasn't running the sugar shaker), and not greasy at all. Being an Ottawan, I really really wanted to make Beavertails, but I just didn't get around to it. I'll try to do one come winter, when I can do a full post on it and show you how to make a perfect Killaloe Sunrise. Check out the Daring Kitchen main page to see a slideshow of everyone's doughnuts. 

Blog-checking lines: The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

Recipes and full challenge PDF after the jump

French crullers
(from a news article by Noelle Carter, reprinted in The Ottawa Citizen, June 10, 2010)
Total time: about 1 hour
Makes 10 to 12 doughnuts

6 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces
1 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
seeds from ½ vanilla bean
1¼ cups flour
3 eggs
2 egg whites
oil for frying

1.     In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, water, salt and sugar and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Remove from heat and quickly stir in flour. Return to low heat and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes.
2.     Remove the pan from the heat and place in a food processor or stand mixer. If using a food processor, process the dough for 15 seconds to cool slightly and release steam (leave tube open), then add all the eggs and egg whites at once. Immediately continue to process for 30 seconds to combine and form the cruller batter. If using a stand mixer, beat the dough with the paddle attachment until most of the steam has subsided, then add the eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, until each is incorporated and a batter is formed. (You can also do this with a hand mixer, or a sturdy wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Just add eggs/whites 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.)
3.     Remove the batter to a bowl set over an ice bath and continue to stir gently just until the batter cools and thickens (I skipped this step, as it was pretty cool after beating). It should be thick enough to hold its shape when piped.
4.     Wipe your counter with a damp cloth and lay down a large sheet of parchment (the damp counter helps the parchment stick). Grease the parchment.
5.     Place the batter in a large piping bag with a large star tip (the opening should be larger than ½” in diameter. Pipe the batter on the greased parchment into doughnuts measuring 3” (~7.5 cm) in diameter, with a 1” (2.5 cm) hole. You may need to hold the paper in place while you’re piping. Press with the piping tip to close the doughnut and quickly release to ‘cut’ the batter. Don’t worry about imperfections, as these puff up in the oil.
6.     Fill a large pot or deep fryer with oil to at least 3” deep and heat to 350F/180C.
7.     While the oil is heating, cut the paper between the doughnuts, but leave the batter on the paper. When the oil is hot, pick up the squares of parchment with a metal spoon or spatula and place in the hot oil. The doughnuts will immediately release from the paper. Remove it with tongs. Fry for about 6 minutes, turning every 30 seconds or so. They will triple in size and may be a bit misshapen. I cooked about 3 at a time in my pot.
8.     Drain on a rack, then glaze or decorate. I used a maple-brown butter glaze, but didn’t measure. I browned about 3 tablespoons of butter, added about 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, then added icing sugar until the consistency was right, probably about ¾ of a cup.
9.     Delicious warm, but good at room temperature. These DO NOT keep, so eat them the day you make them! 


35 comments:

Valerie said...

Mary, your photos keep getting better and better! I ♥ crullers too, but making them would be like opening Pandora's box. Yours look scrumptious, as do your yeast doughnuts.

Great job combining the Daring Cooks and Daring Bakers! :-)

andromean said...

Your doughnuts look really yummy! I would love to visit Canada and try all the yummy doughnuts over there!

shelley c. said...

Hahaha, I am sure your brother was thrilled about the hyper-sugared up two year old, but I am sure a plate full of fresh, homemade, delicious crullers made it all completely worthwhile! (and I am sure your nephew slept pretty well later that night...) Your crullers and your jam donuts both look absolutely delicious. Amazing work, as always!!!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

oh my goodness...i love crullers! i made them at home once and was for some reason so surprised that they were made from cream puff dough. both your doughnuts look amazing!

Aparna said...

I've never eaten crullers, but yours look so good I shall have to make some.
Cardamom is my favourite spice and I added some to my doughnut glaze. :)

Lori said...

Your crullers are perfect- very professional.

I would have liked to do the bombolini- next time. Yours look so good.

Laurie @simplyscratch said...

Um will you ship to Michigan! I'll take 2 dozen! Lol... beautiful job Mary! :)

Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz said...

You are the doughnut queen from the blogs I have seen so far. I love the crullers too and the picture with the texture in it looks perfect. OMG I did not even think of trying beaver tales. greet now I have a craving for one.

Renata said...

Mary, I loved to read your story! This challenge taught me something that I really didn't know: the Canadian tradition with doughnuts. Your crullers look amazing and I suppose they are similar to "churros" except that they are shaped like rings? And your jam filled doughnut is .... wow! I'm drooling! I've been craving doughnuts all month!

tease-spoon of sugar said...

Your pictures look ridiculously good. And I'm not even a big fan of doughnuts.

RamblingTart said...

Wowsers, Mary!!! I love Tim Hortons but your crullers look ten times better than theirs!! :-)

jfochek said...

Look at the texture of those crullers... Holy moly! Maple brown butter sounds heavenly, too.

Leslie said...

These look super good! No way any chain doughnuts, no matter how beloved, could compete with these beauties.

Tracy said...

Oh my goodness, those doughnuts look incredible! Yum!!

uk4dz said...

Yum!! They look wonderful, I've not heard of Crullers before but wish I had!

Poires au Chocolat said...

How yummy! Interesting that you put the jam in the middle before the second rise, I hadn't thought of that.

Asha @ FSK said...

I have to say I LOVE Tim Hortons!!!!! We visited Montreal last year and were soo glad we had a breakfast there.. there bagels and donuts are simply AWESOME. so much better than the DDs and KKs in the US!!!

thedaintyapron said...

Your doughnuts look fantastic! I went with the bomboloni and had issues filling them. Next time I'll either use a squeeze bottle or give your method a try.

chef_d said...

Those donuts look so delicious!! But my favorite are the plum jam-filled ones, so drool worthy! Great job!

Deeba PAB said...

Just awesome goodness here Mary ...WOW! Must try your method for jam filled ones next time. Your donuts are making me VERY HUNGRY!! YUM! Well done with the challenge my dear!

Marcellina said...

Mary your crullers look fantastic! Are they similar to churros? Wouldn't it be fun if you could come over and we could enjoy jam doughnuts over a cup of tea! Yours looks great! I'm gald to have been an inspiration! I love the taste!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Those are the best donuts I have ever seen in my entire life... truly. Incredible pics... the taste and the aroma just transcends the screen.
YUM!
:)
Valerie
(and thank you!!! I subscribed!)

Penny said...

they look so light and fluffy and I love the idea of cardamon. I must try that!

Kris Ngoei said...

I am game baking these crullers since their perfect appearance and the maple brown butter glaze is simply mouth watering...

Sawadee from Bangkok,
Kris

Marty said...

That oozing jam is making my mouth water. Great story! Hope you finally got a chance to make your beavertails.

Jamie said...

Oooh Crullers are also my favorite! I also made the same dough but used it to make Pets-de-Nonne (Nun's Farts) which are a French specialty. And sadly didn't have time to make the yeasty doughnuts but yours have now inspired me to get baking! They are perfect!

Audax said...

WOW your doughnuts look so light that spherical one is so so funny. Well done this challenge I have to admit I want to make some beaver tails after seeing them on the forums. Lemon and sugar sounds so good with them also.

Lisa said...

Mary, what gorgeous donuts an phots. I love cruller too,..much more than donuts, and was thinking of doing them for this challenge but then wanted to take a Hallloween spin. That said, loooove the plum jam filling! Beautifully done as always!

Laura said...

Those doughnuts look amazing! I didn't make the jelly doughnuts, but yours look so good, now I have to make a batch for Chanukah (and I hate deep frying).
Love the maple glaze.

Valérie said...

Mary, you totally aced this challenge! Love the holes in your crullers, just as they should be! And your yeast doughnuts look so light and airy - that's exactly the texture I would've wanted for mine. Great job!

outoftheoven said...

Your doughnuts look fantastic! I love your nephew's reaction - definitely a winning recipe!

Kat said...

Your doughnuts are SOOOO amazing! Wasn't this challenge awesome?
I used blackberry jam in mine, but I do have some plum preserves from last year that need to be used. Maybe I should make another batch of doughnuts tonight!

Mess Maker said...

I love love LOVE your crullers! They look so good. Plus your jam filled doughnuts look delicious. Great job!

Suzler said...

Okay, I'm sold. I'm making crullers. They sound glorious! I love your jam doughnuts too. Everything about them looks perfect! They're like the holy grail of doughnuts or something.

Jen said...

I love crullers, too and yous look yummy. I hoped to have time to try them in the donut challenge but didn't. They are still on my list though ;)