Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Doughnut Holes

In my personal experience, there are a few cooking truths that are absolutely infallible. One - any food that is dipped, covered or spread with chocolate is immediately going to be a success. Two - bacon makes EVERYTHING better, no exceptions. And three - there's not a foodstuff on the planet that's cooked in hot oil that doesn't taste like a gift from the gods. I challenge you to prove me wrong! And as far as deep fat fried fodder goes, you simply can't beat these for sweet, doughy goodness. Doughnut holes, munchkins, diddy doughnuts...call them what you will, they're bloody fantastic. And this past weekend, with a morning at my disposal and a hankering for something just a little bit fatter than normal, I whipped up a batch. I love how jealous you are right now.
In a large bowl, mix together about 180g of plain flour, a couple of teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt. My missus has actually gone gluten-free so I've replaced the plain flour with rice flour in this instance - hopefully your doughnut-eating pals aren't such difficult human beings (I will get a slap for that). In a smaller bowl mix 60ml milk, 50g granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons of melted butter and about 60ml buttermilk. If you can't get your hands on buttermilk, just mix lemon juice or white vinegar with regular milk and leave for a few minutes to sour a little. Think roughly 1 tablespoon of lemon juice/vinegar to every 240ml of milk, that should do you just fine.
Combine your wet ingredients with your dry ingredients and give it a mix until you've got a nice light and fluffy batter. The consistency you're after is a bit like a thicker icing - don't overwork it or else the doughnuts will be heavy, just mix until everything starts to come together.
Cover a baking tray with parchment paper, then measure your dough out, roll into balls and line them up. The quantities above made, for me, about a dozen or so little doughnut holes, but you do what you want. If you want even diddy-er doughnuts, make them smaller. If you've got a big mouth and want to cram it full of something sweet, make them bigger. You're the boss. Roll them as quickly as you can - still being careful not to overwork them - then bung them into the fridge for a hot minute or two just to firm up slightly.
I use vegetable oil for frying, so fill a heavy-bottomed saucepan (I like my saucepans like I like my women...) and stick it on a medium heat. If you've got a sugar thermometer, you're trying to get to about 175C. If you don't have a sugar thermometer give it about 7-8 minutes, then test by dropping a small piece of batter into the oil. If it fizzes and floats, chances are you're good to go. This also gives you a good opportunity to ready your jams, sugars, chocolate sauces...whatever you're planning on filling or coating your doughnut treats with. As you can see I've gone for the old syringe-filled-with-jam method. What you can't see is that I ran into the old raspberry-seeds-too-big-for-the-hole-in-the-syringe problem and had to upgrade to a larger and more robust model. Hey, it's all good.
Once your oil is hot enough fry in small batches for about 3 minutes at a time, flipping halfway using tongs or a wooden skewer. Drain on some kitchen roll then, whilst they're still hot and a little bit oily, roll them in sugar. Fill them with your desired jam or sauce, or just eat them as they are - either way you won't be wrong.

Ingredients
180g pain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
3 tbsps melted butter
60ml milk
60ml buttermilk
50g granulated sugar
vegetable oil, for frying
sugar and jam, to coat and fill

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