Monday, October 17, 2011

First Up: Pumpkin Doughnuts. For Reals.

Welcome to Pumpkin Week...where all your greatest pumpkin recipes will hopefully/maybe/maybe-not come true!

Today’s first recipe will make you fatter and happier than life itself: pumpkin donuts (yes, slang spelling, I know I know)... and yes they are as good as it sounds.

These taste like pure Autumn in the most casual way possible. I have no other idea of how to explain it. You know how good a donut from the local joint can taste straight from the mill? Try a homemade one, spiced with fall’s essences and pumpkin, fried up before your eyes, then mercilessly dipped in either sugar/cinnamon or a delicious glaze. I really had to stop myself cold from eating more than I was.

Our niece and nephew, S & C, came over to help us. Oh we had so much fun making these. Perhaps too much. And it further concluded in my mind that if you make these in your home, please have people around to help you and to laugh with joy along with you when that boiling oil gives birth to your first homemade pumpkin donut. It’s a memory you won’t want to relish alone. Homemade donuts are made for people who love each other and want to spend time with each other. This recipe is, no doubt in my mind, going down as a Halloween tradition from this time forth. You heard me!

Here’s a few pointers to hopefully assuage any anxiety about making these:

+You don’t need a fryer. Use a large saucepan and leave the oil only 2-3 inches deep.

+You will want a candy thermometer. Promise. It’s the only way to determine if the oil is at the right temperature- believe me- if it’s too hot, you’ll not just fry the donut, you’ll kill it, but if it’s too cool, the donut won’t fluff up properly. And you don’t wanna do the “finger” test to see if the oil is hot. You’ll need that finger in the future!

+The cinnamon/sugar topping as well as the glaze are imperative. They MAKE the donut what it is. And they are both winners. I highly recommend preparing both and seeing which one you like best. Personally, I found the sugar mix was fabulous with the donut holes and the glaze fit perfectly with the actual donut.

+You don’t need fancy biscuit cutters or fancy cookie cutters to make these- you may use the rim of a drinking glass to cut out donut shapes from your dough (which is what we did). You may also use the edge of a frosting tip to cut out the middle of the donut hole… this worked wonderfully- then use those little dots for donut holes. Yum!

+Don’t wimp out! Try it! Try it! Try it! The oil burning at 350 degrees is nothing to be too scared of!

Pumpkin Doughnuts

For the doughnuts:

3½ cups all-purpose flour

4 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

½ tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ tsp. ground cloves

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup buttermilk

1 cup pumpkin puree

Canola oil or peanut oil, for frying

For the cinnamon-sugar:

½ cup sugar

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the spiced glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

Dash of ground nutmeg

Dash of ground ginger

Dash of ground cloves

2 tbsp. milk

To make the dough, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and butter and beat until well blended. Stir in the egg, then the egg yolks, and then the vanilla until incorporated. Combine the buttermilk and pumpkin in a liquid measuring cup and whisk together. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the pumpkin mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Once the dough is mixed, cover and chill for at least 3 hours or until firm.

On a well-floured work surface, roll or pat out the dough to a ½-inch thick round. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour. Using a 2½ to 3-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of dough. Use a smaller cutter (or a wide pastry tip) to cut a hole out of the center. Reroll and cut the dough scraps as necessary.

Add oil to a large saucepan or Dutch oven to a depth of about 2-3 inches. Attach a thermometer to the side of the pan and heat the oil to 365-370˚ F. Add the rings of dough to the hot oil so that they are in a single layer and not touching. Fry, turning once, until both sides are golden brown and doughnuts are cooked through, about 3-4 minutes total. Use a skimmer/strainer to remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined rack. Bring the oil temperature back up to the target range before repeating with the next batch of doughnuts. Use the same process for the doughnut holes, frying for a shorter time.

To make the cinnamon-sugar, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish and whisk to blend. When the doughnuts are just cool enough to handle, dip half of them in the cinnamon-sugar to coat completely, shaking off the excess.

To make the spiced glaze, combine the powdered sugar and spices in a small bowl. Add the milk and whisk to combine, until a thick glaze is formed. If necessary, add a bit more milk to thin the glaze out. Dip the remaining half of the doughnuts in the glaze. Allow the glaze to set before serving.

Ahhh... can't wait to make them again. See ya in '12 beautiful pumpkin pastry!

1 comment:

thailiz said...

I am definitely trying these! I've been looking forward to pumpkin week - can't wait for what else you're going to post!