“There is an island to which no airline flies. Its boarders are not open to you and I, for they are guarded by youth”
My father loves to tell me that quote and it has come to be somewhat of a motto to live by. In essence it boils down to always doing what you want for you might never get the chance again. This ranges from asking out the cute brunette you have no chance, to driving out to Skegness on a cold winters day just because you can.
I remember one of those trips well, taking a rusty mini 1000 along windy roads to the waters edge and from a small shack battered by sand, wind and sleet, buy a bag of fresh doughnuts. To this day I can still remember the happy look on my fathers face as he split the last one in half to share.
The problem is, as you might have worked out, being a Doctor means that free time is not common and I rarely get to make spontaneous trips anymore. So no more doughnuts to share with dad :(………… Well not quite. You can’t relive the past, but you can look back. Its time to make doughnuts.
So doughnuts can be made in a few ways, either out of batter with a raising agent and deep fried or made with yeast a bit like bread. As the dear old Lincolnshire ones were in fact yeast I had little option. But what topping, well I rather like millionaire shortbread and as I was making some for the tea room (Open Sunday and Monday)………..
I will apologies now; to make the doughnuts you basically have to either cheat (buy shortbread and caramel) or make it. IF you are going to make it, you might as well make millionaires shortbread and use a couple of bits to top the doughnuts
- 9oz plain flour
- 8oz butter
- 3oz caster sugar
- 2 tins condensed mild
- 2oz light muscavardo sugar
- 2oz dark muscavardo sugar
- 4oz butter
Chocolate – lots of it
Making the shortbread is very easy. Combine the ingredient in a mixing bowl and work together into a breadcrumb stage. As it has such a large butter content this will start clumping together. When it starts to combine into a large ball, spread evenly in a lined and greased tin. Relieve some inner tension and poke it a few times with a fork to create the familiar pattern we all know and love.
Now bake this at about 180 ( middle of an Aga) until golden brown; you may need to turn half way through. When done, set aside to cool…………. The fun is about to begin.
Normally I would encourage you to multitask, but concentration with caramel is key. Its simple to make, but even simpler to mess up. Start by combining the ingredients in a large pan and melting the butter and sugar.
When everything is melted it’s time to turn up the heat. On a medium heat keep stirring, and for gods sake do not stop. Even if the cute brunette from before is calling you up to arrange a secret weekend, just ignore it…….. The moment you leave the caramel, disaster will strike – it catches on the bottom of the pan and burns. You will not look away now, will you?!!
When the caramel feels thick and is stiff to turn (about 10 mins after your arm has dropped off) test it – get a friend or wandering old person (dad) to dip a spoon of it into some cold water. When cool, if it is just solid enough to hold its shape when you push it off the spoon, its done. The friend can now try the caramel for taste as well.
If at this stage you want to get really fancy, you can add salt, coffee or even lavender to make the caramel even more special. After this, simply pour onto the shortbread and leave to cool. Set aside some of the caramel for later to make the doughnut filling.
When it’s all cool, top temper some milk chocolate and pour on top. I learnt to temper chocolate a couple of years ago to impress a fellow F1…….. Completely useless skill at the time.
Right, lets actually start to make what this blog post is about. DOUGHNUTS.
- 12oz Strong flour (Allison’s – my favourite)
- 150ml milk
- 2 medium sized eggs
- 1oz fresh yeast
- 2oz melted butter
- 3oz sugar
Start by combining all the dry ingredients in the Kitchenaid and slowly add the egg and milk. This should form a relatively wet dough but which keeps its shape. Continue to knead the dough for 10mins to allow the gluten structure to form properly.
Once kneaded fully, the dough needs to be proofed in a fridge overnight. This posed a slight problem as they were full of tea room items such a pastry cases for quiche. So I went for the next best thing, a drafty 15th Century doorway.
The following morning, prep 2 trays with greaseproof paper to prove the doughnuts on. Knock back the dough and turn out onto a large pastry board. Roll to about 3/4″ thickness and cut out the doughnuts. I used the scone cutter, approx 3″ diameter. Then tighten up the shape.
After about an hour the doughnuts will have doubled in size and are ready to cook.
Heat up a pan of oil to 175. Fry the doughnuts off 2 at a time, turning after about 3 minutes or when they have gone golden brown. Remember, don’t overcrowd the pan or the oil will drop its temp too far and the doughnuts will collapse on themselves. Worse still, they will not seal quickly and end up all oily.
Remember, leave a little time for the oil to heat back up between doughnuts.
Combine equal measurements of whipped cream, soft cheese and caramel in the Kitchenaid. To this, add icing sugar till a thick smooth filling has been made. This needs to be transferred to a piping bag with a long tipped nozzle
This is simple but a bit messy; filling the bag is easy but piping requires a bit of pressure. Time and patience are required.
When the weight of the doughnut feels about right its time to add the chocolate. Again, temper some chocolate (i’ll make a mini blog about this later) and tip the doughnut in it.
Just before the chocolate has set, cut a couple of squares of shortbread and place on top.
Time for coffee
So that’s it, doughnuts made and time to relax with a coffee. They don’t taste as good as the ones from the Skegness sea front, but they still put a smile back on my face……… Plus, everyone likes Tulips
That’s another one to add to the bar menu…. I’m currently working on the beer #boredyet