After a week of cookie melt-downs (literally), I decided to go back to basics today. I’ve been going on a yeast adventure in my kitchen recently, and so I thought I’d make some deliciously wonderful doughnuts. They may seem like a great feat, but doughnuts are fairly easy. These Early Grey doughnuts come from a maternal place for me. I’ve been told that my Grandmother had a counter top fryer, and my mother remembers her making fresh yeast doughnuts once a week. (This was the fifties after all.) I think that is just the coolest thing!
After hearing about my grandmother’s fryer, Santa brought me one of my own a few years ago — I’ve been making doughnuts every since! I’ve been working with Stephen Collucci’s book Glazed Filled Sugared & Dipped and the possibilities are endless in the world of fried dough! My day doesn’t start until I have my morning tea, thus today’s combination of earl grey tea and lemon. My mother takes her tea with lemon, so it seemed a fitting combo — and delicious!
Let’s get fried!
Earl Grey Doughnuts with Lemon
Liven up afternoon tea with Earl Grey Doughnuts! What could be better?
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk room temperature
- 3 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
- 3 cups bread flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 sugar
- the zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1 /2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 Tb softened butter
- a stand mixer with paddle attachment
- large bowl for dough proving
- and either a mini fryer or cast iron pan with frying oil
- One batch of Butter Glaze, see below.
- Step 1 Make sure that your milk is in fact room temperature. I impatiently zapped mine in the microwave for a few seconds. Add the milk and yeast to the mixer and stir on low for 2-3 minutes until you smell the yeastiness.
- Step 2 While that’s happening, sift together the flours, sugar and spices. Add the zest to this mixture. When little bubbles start to form on the surface of the milk, begin adding the flour mixture to the bowl. Once combined, add the egg and vanilla. Then, incorporate the butter.
- Step 3 increase the mixer speed to medium and let mix for 5-8 minutes, until the dough is silken and pulls from the bowl’s edges.
- Step 4 On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let prove for 20-30 minutes until tripled in size.
- Step 5 While the dough is rising, make the butter glaze. You can pretty much flavor this with whatever herbs, fruit, or teas you’d like. For these, I’m using Tazo’s Earl Grey that has a hint of bergamot and lavender.
- Step 6 Earl Grey Butter Glaze:In a medium saucepan melt 1/2 cup butter over medium heat. Whisk 1 cup powder sugar and 2 Tablespoons water into the butter. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat. Split 1/2 vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the butter, toss in the bean too. Also add the zest of one lemon plus 1 Tablespoon juice and the contents of one tea bag of Tazo’s Earl Grey. Let steep for 20-30 minutes. I like to see the little specks of vanilla and tea, so I just fish out the bean pod and zest pieces (you can also strain the glaze). Use warm.
- Step 7 When the dough has tripled in size, it time to start frying! My Fry Daddy keeps the cooking oil at 350º F at all times. If you are using a large skillet, fill the pan with about 2 inches of oil and bring it up to that same temperature.
- Step 8 On a floured surface, turn the dough out of the bowl and lightly roll till 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out with a round cutter about 3 inches in diameter. The dough really puffs up in the oil, so they get bigger. For the holes I use the large end of a pastry tip.
- Step 9 Fry each doughnut for 1-2 minutes on each side till golden brown, avoid turning too much. There will still be a pale ring around the edge, and that’s okay.
- Step 10 Once cooked, let drain on paper towels and dip in the glaze. I find it best to hold the pastry lightly by hooking the hole to flip in the glaze. Let drip on a cooling rack and serve hot and fresh!
Even though this recipe requires a yeasted dough, it comes together in less than an hour. Sunday morning doughnuts, anyone?