Who really needs an excuse to devour one of these sugary delights in one sitting?! There’s something quite nostalgic for me about doughnuts. Trips to Dunn’s Bakery in Crouch End as a child were a rare, but magical, treat. I vividly remember all the wonderful pastries and doughnuts set down in uniform rows, with icing so glossy I could see my face in them.
I first made my own a few years ago with the help of my Dad. When you’re using hot oil, extra supervision is a sensible idea. My Dad and I would work together, placing a few balls of dough at a time into the bubbling liquid, until they puffed up and bobbed to the surface. The centres would be a halo of white and each side a beautiful, golden brown. We’d toss them, whilst hot, into a bowl of sugar and leave them to cool as we salivated over the thought of trying to eat them without licking our lips.
Filling choices would range from jam, to custard, apple cinnamon, and Nutella, and we’d syringe whichever we fancied into the dough like it was a surgical operation. The secret with doughnut making is checking that your oil is at the right temperature. Too hot, and the outsides will burn, leaving the middle raw. Too cold, and the oil will be absorbed by the dough, making them greasy.
You also need a lot of patience. Waiting for the dough to proof, knocking it back and setting it aside again to double in size is important for getting the right fluffy texture, as it undergoes its fermentation process. Justin Gellatly, aka “The Doughnut King”, perfected his doughnut recipe over many years. In my opinion, there’s not a doughnut quite like his and it’s no wonder people flock to Bread Ahead in Borough Market to sample all the different flavours he has to offer. You can fill your doughnuts with anything you like, but I wanted something light, fresh and tropical. These went down an absolute treat – I’d barely filled them before they were being wolfed down by family members! With a three day weekend upon us, I’d encourage anyone to give these a whirl. Share your photos with me on Instagram @acupofteaandcake.
Justin Gellatly’s doughnuts
Makes about 20 doughnuts (1kg dough)
For the dough
500g strong white bread flour
60g caster sugar
10g fine sea salt
15g fresh yeast, crumbled (or you can use half the quantity of fast action dried yeast)
zest of 1/2 lemon
125g unsalted butter, softened
sunflower oil, about 2 litres for deep-frying
caster sugar for tossing
For the filling
200ml double cream
60g caster sugar (20g for the cream, 40g for the passion fruit)
5 passion fruit
- Put all the ingredients apart from the butter into the bowl and using an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix on a medium speed for 8 minutes. The dough needs to start coming away from the sides and forming a ball.
- Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 1 minute.
- Start the mixer up again on a medium speed and slowly add the butter to the dough – about 25g at a time. Once it is all incorporated (and be patient as it may take a little while), mix on high speed for 5 minutes, until the dough is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to prove until it has doubled in size.
- Once it’s ballooned a little, knock back the dough, then re-cover the bowl and put into the fridge to chill overnight.
- The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into 50g pieces (you should get about 20). Roll them into smooth, taut, tight buns and place them on a floured baking tray, leaving plenty of room between them as you don’t want them to stick together while they prove. Cover lightly with clingfilm and leave for about 4 hours, or until about doubled in size.
- Fill a heavy-based saucepan with sunflower oil (or use a deep-fat fryer if you have one!). Heat the oil to 180C. Be careful as hot oil is dangerous.
- When the oil is heated to the correct temperature, carefully remove the doughnuts from the tray by sliding a floured pastry scraper underneath them. Be careful not to deflate and knock all the air out of them. Gently place in the oil, doing two or three at a time depending on the size of your pan. Fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown. They should puff up and float, so you may need to gently push them down after about a minute to help them colour evenly. Remove from the fryer and place on kitchen paper to drain, then toss them in a bowl of caster sugar while still warm. Repeat until all are fried, but make sure the oil temperature is correct every time before you fry. Set aside to cool before filling.
- Make your passion fruit cream by whipping the double cream, sugar and the scrapings of the vanilla pod until thick. Scrape out the flesh of the passion fruits and place in a blender to whizz and get rid of any whole seeds. In a small saucepan, heat the passion fruit pulp with a tiny bit of sugar until the sugar’s dissolved then leave to cool. You can pop it in the fridge to speed this up.
- To fill the doughnuts, make a hole in the crease of each one (anywhere around the white line between the fried top and bottom).
- Fill a piping bag with your desired filling and pipe into the doughnut until it erupts out the top.
The doughnuts are best eaten straight away, but will keep in an airtight tin and can be reheated.
Recipe from Bread, Cake, Doughnut, Pudding by Justin Gellatly