Recently I taught a doughnut class at a local Cooks Warehouse store. The hardest part about developing the class was deciding which four doughnuts should go on the menu. Wanting to showcase different types of dough, I chose the Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnut, a Ginger Cream-filled Doughnut, a Maple Glazed Bar, and the cinnamon-sugar Churro with a Chocolate dipping sauce. These represent three doughs - leavened dough, yeast dough and a pate a choux dough. Each is fantastic in their own right. It just depends on your mood and how much time you have available to create the perfect bite. The churros were especially light and tasty and the ginger cream was to die for, but being a cake doughnut fiend, I just can't get past a fresh, homemade Buttermilk doughnut.
This past week I spent a few days in New Orleans with some chef friends, home of the infamous powdered sugar-coated beignet. It simply wouldn't be right to make a trip to the French Quarter without diving into a plate of piping hot beignets and a cup of cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde. What a delightful way to start your morning, sitting at an outside table on a cool day, noshing on these little beauties. It's like the potoato chip in that you can't eat just one.
In honor of the humble yet delicious doughnut, here is a recipe that's sure to please. It's from Elinor Krivens book called "Donuts", a tasty little collection of several types of doughnut recipes, fillings, and dipping sauces.
Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnut
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespon unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon good vanilla extract
Canola or peanut oil for frying
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Sift together the dry ingredients in alarge bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and sugar together with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy and pale in color. Add the buttermilk, butter, and vanilla, and the beat until well blended.
Add the flour mixutre and beat on low speed just until the mixture comes together in a soft dough. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Pour the oil to a depth of 2 inches into a deep fryer or large saute pan. Warm the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 360 F.
To roll out the doughnuts, generously flour your clean work surface. Using a rolling pin or with your hands, roll or pat out the dough int a 10-inch circle about 1/2-inch thick. With a 3-inch round doughnut cutter, cut out as many doughnuts as possible, keeping the cuts as close together as possible. Gather up the dough scraps and repeat rolling and cutting. If you don't have a doughnut cutter, use one small and one large cutter.
Carefully lower 2 - 4 doughnuts or holes into the hot oil. Avoid crowding the pan or fryer. Fry until dark golden in color, about 1-1/2 minutes. Turn over and cook until dark golden on the other side, about 1 minute. Transfer the doughnuts to the towel-lined baking sheet and continue frying the remaining doughnuts and holes, allowing the oil to return to the starting temperature of 360 F between batches.
Using a small fine sieve or sifter, dust generously with confectioners' sugar. Serve immediately. These are always best enjoyed the same day they are made.