During the last days of winter the outdoors seem a little tired. Salt stains the roads. Gravel accumulates in piles along curb sides and where the sidewalk meets the grass. Renewal is needed but it is not yet time. For those who do not like winter, these last days can feel as though they are taunting us. Every now and then, a warm spell will last for a day filling our minds with the dream of warm breezes and simply sliding on a pair of shoes to head outdoors. Suddenly, the temperature drops, the wind picks up and it feels like we’ve taken one step forward and two steps back. The snow has accumulated and needs shoveling. On go the layers, toque, mittens, scarf and boots. Getting out the door feels like it takes ages.
Picnics and barbecue parties still must wait but that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy the food and atmosphere that is available during March. It is still citrus season after all. The grocery stores are full to the brim of grapefruits, lemons and blood oranges.
This week, I tried making fried doughnuts. I’ve made baked doughnuts many times but this is the first time that I’ve tried fried doughnuts. Inspired by the season, I wanted to choose a recipe that included citrus. After trying a few things in my kitchen, I thought it was time to turn to an expert who, not only creates beautiful, seasonal fruit desserts but also makes her recipes approachable. In the recipe book, Sweeter off the Vine: Fruit Desserts for Every Season, Yossy Arefi inspires the home baker at every stage. Each page is colourful and skillfully displayed. I encourage you to visit her blog called Apt. 2b Baking and start baking with the fruit that is available right now!
Old fashioned sour cream doughnuts are one of my favourites (and of course, Boston cream). Since this recipe is made with blood oranges, the glaze turns a light shade of pink. If you want to add a little bit of decoration, add some sprinkles to the top of the doughnuts just after dipping them into the glaze.
Blood Orange Old-Fashioned Doughnuts
Reprinted with permission from Sweeter Off the Vine, by Yossy Arefi, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Makes: 1 dozen doughnuts and holes
Dutch oven or deep-sided skillet
Doughnut cutter or two circular cutters of different sizes
2 ½ cups (285g) cake flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¼ cup (55g) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 tsp blood orange zest
2 large egg yolks, room temperature*
¾ cup (170g), full-fat yoghurt or sour cream, room temperature
3 tbsp blood orange juice
1 tsp real vanilla extract
2 blood oranges
3 cups (300g) confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt
1. To make the doughnuts: Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, mix the butter, sugar, and orange zest together until sandy. Add the egg yolks and mix for 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing. The mixture should lighten in color and be very thick. Add the yoghurt and stir until evenly combined, then add the blood orange juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once and stir until just combined; use a spatula to scrape down the bottom of the bowl to ensure evening mixing. The dough will be thick and sticky like cookie dough. Wrap the dough in a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.**
3. Just before frying, make the glaze: Zest one of the oranges and measure out ½ teaspoon of zest. Juice both of the oranges and measure ¼ cup of juice. Whisk the juice, zest and salt into the confectioners’ sugar until smooth. You want the glaze to be thick but pourable. If the glaze seems thin, add a bit more confectioners’ sugar; if it seems too thick, add a bit more orange juice. Set aside while you fry the doughnuts.
4. To fry the doughnuts: Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set a cooling rack on top. Add enough oil to a Dutch oven or deep-sided skillet to measure a depth of at least 3-inches. Heat the oil over medium high heat until it reaches 350°F (170°C) on a candy thermometer.
5. While the oil is heating, cut the doughnuts. Lightly flour a baking sheet. Roll the dough out on a well-floured surface to about ½ inch thick. Use a well-floured doughnut cutter to cut as many doughnuts and holes as possible; the dough will be soft and sticky, so do your best to handle it gently. Flour the cutter in between each cut to prevent sticking. Gently reroll the scraps and cut again. Transfer the cut doughnuts and holes to the floured baking sheet. Refrigerate while the oil heats.
6. When the oil has come up to temperature, dust the excess flour off the doughnuts and carefully place each one in the hot oil, working in batches and making sure to not crowd the pan; the doughnuts will expand a bit in the oil. Keep an eye on the temperature of the oil; you may have to raise or lower the heat under the pan to keep the oil at a consistent temperature. Refrigerate the baking sheet with the uncooked doughnuts in between batches.
7. Fry each batch of doughnuts and holes until they are deep golden brown, about 90 seconds, then use a spatula or spider strainer to carefully flip the doughnuts. Cook the other side for about 90 seconds or until deep golden brown and cooked through. Remove to the rack until cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes.
8. Drip each warm doughnut in the glaze and let the excess drip off. Return the glazed doughnuts to the rack, glaze side up, and let them sit until the glaze is no longer sticky. Serve warm or at room temperature. These doughnuts are best the day they are made.
Enjoy these classic doughnuts with a thermos of coffee outside in the sunshine.
* Use your leftover egg yolks to make a detoxifying facial mask.
**If you decide to rest the dough overnight, please be aware that the orange juice can oxidize. This oxidization may turn your dough slightly greenish (not to worry though, it doesn’t affect the taste of the doughnuts).
If you tried making this recipe, let me know! Tag your creations on Instagram using the hashtag: #lindenandlavender