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. Download doughnut recipes here
My favorite food book? Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. There is a lot of cooking and eating going on in that book. Almanzo must have had some fond memories of his mother’s cooking. The food is lovingly detailed with words like crisp, golden, creamy, golden, sleek.
And the variety! Ham, baked beans, mashed turnips, stewed pumpkin, pulled candy, ice cream, lemonade, potatoes, popcorn, milk, bread thick with butter, plum preserves, strawberry jam, grape jelly, watermelon rind pickles, oatmeal with thick cream and maple sugar, buckwheat cakes, turnovers, sausage and gravy; the list could go on and on. But what came to my mind with this challenge was when Almanzo’s mother made doughnuts.
Almanzo took the biggest doughnut from the pan and bit off its crisp end. Mother was rolling out the golden dough, slashing it into long strips, rolling and doubling and twisting the strips. Her fingers flew; you could hardly see them.
The strips seemed to twist themselves under her hands, and to leap into the big copper kettle of swirling hot fat. Plump! they went to the bottom, sending up bubbles. Then quickly they came popping up, to float and slowly swell, till they rolled themselves over, their pale golden backs going into the fat and their plump brown bellies rising out of it.
My favorite doughnuts are French crullers and filled doughnuts. Since a cruller recipe wasn’t included in the challenge, I decided to make the filled doughnuts.
My dream doughnut is a French silk filled doughnut, so this was my chance to try it. Raspberry is my favorite jam filling, so I made some of those too, with a vanilla glaze. In honor of Almanzo’s mother, I twisted the scraps of dough and made a maple glaze for them.
I used the Alton Brown recipe for raised doughnuts and cut them out with a biscuit cutter. You just can’t go wrong with an Alton recipe. I mixed the dough in my bread machine and I fried the doughnuts in lard in a cast-iron Dutch oven.
And the best part: The fillings. Homemade filled doughnuts are simply luscious.
BTW, which are better? Doughnuts or Donuts?
French Silk Filling
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups super fine sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla
Beat sugar and butter for 15 minutes on med-high speed using an electric mixer. Add chocolate and vanilla. Add eggs, two at a time, beating 5 minutes after each addition. Chill 2 hours or until firm.
Remove from the refrigerator and whisk to loosen. Work quickly to fill the doughnuts because this stuff melts FAST.