Hey Joe, doughnuts!!
But first, I’ve been thinking about shoes lately.
I attach a lot of my identity to the shoes I choose to buy and wear. I think you do to. It feels like something we quietly pride ourselves on. You helped me choose my first pair of Nike air max 90s. They were black and I accidently left them on a train home from Glasgow. I felt shy at school when all the other girls were wearing pretty boots, converse or vans while I was wearing my pink and white Puma Fast Riders. I remember looking down at my feet and feeling silly. Shame, If only I knew then that people would think I was really cool if I cut about in them at the age of 22.
Just have a think about wellies for a second – big old tubes of plastic. Lace up boots – long thin ankle holders attached to elongated rubber pancakes. The toe end of Reebok Classic Leather trainers are modelled on the Grinch’s curly toe feet and Sue’s slippers could be mistaken for 2 un-sliced Warburtons loafs.
I like the idea of a shoe in the shape of a doughnut. French people call their apple turnovers ‘apple slippers’, chausson aux pommes. This makes a lot of sense to me. I’d love to have apple turnovers on my feet. These doughnuts are a bit like slippers too. They are soft on the inside with plenty of airy pockets to slip your feet into. The crispy exterior would protect your toes from hard things and the sharp cherry jam glaze gives you a bit of fashion jazz. I don’t fill these doughnuts with feet though, as comfy as it would be, I fill them with a beautifully light cherry custard cream. I called the filling a ‘crémeux’ when I presented them to the girls in the flat because I used the word once and they got a bit obsessed with it. It means ‘creamy’ in French and describes this filling well. The base of the filling is a crème pâtissière, thick vanilla custard, which is folded through cream whipped to soft peaks. It feels rich and almost buttery but it’s light as a feather. I fold a bit of cherry jam through the custard cream which leaves a perfect sweet cherry taste after the creaminess has melted away.
Honestly, I’d be surprised if anyone actually follows this recipe, not that I wouldn’t love it if someone wants to – work away and power to you!! – but this is more for me to remember what I did and maybe for others to get a bit of inspiration. I’m sure the measurements are not perfect, they could be refined and tested many more times, but it’s as close to perfect as it is right now. The cream is also too special not to write down, you could chuck in any fruit jam which I find pretty exciting.
Jam Note – Make this the day before you want doughnuts, there is enough going on with dough frying to be making jam as well. I’ve included a quick recipe here for cherry jam which makes the exact amount you need for the recipe. This is a spenny use of jam, the amount of fruit you use will cost about £2.50. If you are tight on money or time, find the cheapest jam you can get at the supermarket.
Crème Patissiere Note – You make this thickened custard the day before you want doughnuts, so it has time to set. When ready to fill the doughnuts, you fold in the cream and jam.
Dough Note – The recipe for this doughnut dough is by Tessa from Now-Forager.com. I’ve made doughnuts quite a few times now and this is the best recipe I have used by far. It is also the fastest to put together. This is a soft dough; you will need a stand mixer to knead it.
Makes 7 Doughnuts. The ingredients list makes this recipe look much more complicated than it is. There are a few steps but individually each one isn’t complicated.
For the Quick Cherry Jam
- 250g cherries – cut into halves, pitted and with stalks removed
- 125g sugar
For the Crème Pâtissière – makes 400g
- 250ml milk – whole or semi skimmed
- 50g sugar
- 1 vanilla bean or 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract will do perfect too
- 50g egg – about 1 egg
- 13g cornflour
- 12g plain flour
- 25g butter – at room temperature
For the Doughnut Dough
- 170g milk – whole or semi skimmed
- 1 medium egg
- 50g plain flour
- 215g strong white bread flour
- 29g sugar
- 6g fast action dried yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 42g butter – softened at room temperature
- About 1L bottle of vegetable or sunflower oil for frying
For the Cherry Cream Filling
- 400g crème pâtissière
- 150g double cream
- 2 heaped tablespoons cherry jam
For the Cherry Glaze
- 2 tablespoons cherry jam – you can blend smooth with a blender, like I did, for a less bitty glaze.
- 250g icing sugar
- juice of one lime or lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom extract – optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Water to get the desired consistency
The day before making the doughnuts prep the cherry jam. Mix the cherries and sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan. Put the pan over a medium/low heat and mash the cherries slightly with a fork to help them release some juice. Let the mixture bubble for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. When the jam is ready it should be glossy and thick enough coat the back of a spoon. Transfer the jam to a clean jar or bowl and allow to cool. Cover and keep in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
Next make the crème pâtissière. It needs time to set so get this going the same day you make the jam. In a small saucepan, add the milk, vanilla and half the sugar. Mix and set aside. Measure out the egg into a mixing bowl, place the bowl on top of a tea towel on your worksurface. Now heat the milk mixture over a low/medium heat. While the milk heats add the rest of the sugar, the corn flour and plain flour to the bowl of egg. Whisk the egg mixture to combine.
Once the milk has come to a simmer keep a close eye on it, you want to catch it just before it reaches a full boil. It will simmer a little and then swell up a centimetre, now take the pan off the heat and slowly pour the heated milk into the egg mixture, pouring with one hand and whisking with the other. When all the milk has been poured into the egg, the custard will be very liquid. Pour the whole thing (egg and milk mixture) back into the saucepan over a medium heat. Whisk continuously until the custard has thickened to a consistency just thicker than mayonnaise, this will happen quickly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pan for a few mins before whisking in the butter a teaspoon at a time. The crème pâtissière should now be thick and glossy. Transfer to a clean bowl and press cling film directly over the surface of the crème pâtissière, this will prevent a skin forming over the custard as it cools. Store in the fridge until ready to use (no longer than 3 days).
The next day make the doughnut dough. Put all ingredients for the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix the ingredients on low speed to combine, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 7 mins or until the dough is smooth, glossy and has come away from the sides of the bowl. This is a wet dough and will feel tacky. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and let it rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
When the dough is almost doubled, fill a large heavy bottom saucepan halfway full with vegetable or sunflower oil. You need at least a 2-inch depth of oil for frying. Attach a sugar or deep fry thermometer to the side of the saucepan and heat the oil to 177C.
As the oil heats, prep for frying. Line one baking tray with greaseproof paper, you will use this to put the doughnuts on before frying, and another tray with kitchen towels or toilet paper (lol), you will put the doughnuts on this tray after they have been fried. Set both trays aside.
Tip out the doughnut dough onto a well-floured worksurface. Sprinkle some flour over the dough and your rolling pin before rolling the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out 7 doughnuts. Place them on the greaseproof lined baking tray. Cover the tray loosely with cling film.
When the oil reaches 177C, use a slotted metal spoon to gently lower 2 doughnuts into the oil. Fry the doughnuts for 2 mins on each side until deep golden-brown. Remove from the oil with the slotted spoon and place on the kitchen towel lined tray. Allow the oil to come back to 177C and repeat the process until all doughnuts are fried. Allow the doughnuts to cool completely before filling (about 1 hour).
Make the cherry cream filling. Whisk the cream to soft peaks and set aside. Use a spoon to work the crème pâtissière back and forth to loosen it up a bit. Heat 2 tablespoons of cherry jam on the hob or in the microwave to loosen it. Gently fold the loosened crème pâtissière and cherry jam into the whipped cream. You can strain the cherry jam through a sieve if you do not want bits of cherry in the cream.
Pierce the side of each doughnut with a knife and wiggle it about to create a hollow space for the cream. Have a deep side baking tray ready for the filled doughnuts (they need to be kept upright so the cream doesn’t escape). Fill a piping bag or sandwich bag with the cherry cream and cut a small hole in the tip of the piping bag (or sandwich bag). This is a loose filling, don’t expect this piping to be a clean process, the only way to be here is a bit messy. Hold a doughnut like you would a glass, wedge the tip of the piping bag into the hole and slowly squeeze, pulling the bag out the hole as you feel it balloon with filling. Sit the filled doughnut hole-side-up until you are ready to glaze it. Repeat until all doughnuts are filled.
Make the cherry glaze. Put all ingredients for the glaze in a bowl, add a teaspoon of water and mix. Add a drop of water at a time until you reach the consistency you like. For icing like mine, you want a thick ribbon of glaze to fall slowly from a spoon pulled out of the glaze.
Dollop a spoon of the glaze on each doughnut, you can guide the glaze gently over the doughnut, so it drips down the sides. Place on a tray before eating lots of them, very quickly. Mmmmmm doughnuts.