The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.
As of this writing, Lori hasn't posted the recipes on her blog, but you can find them over at Audax Artifex's awesome blog here.
Lori gave us four recipes to choose from, and I went with Alton Brown's yeast doughnuts, which I switched up a bit to make almond butter doughnuts, some chocolate dipped and some filled with fig pastry cream.
The doughnuts cut out and rising.
The fried doughnuts. The funky fritter-looking doughnuts on the bottom left are just the scraps pressed together--they fried up just fine.
So how were they? Not bad--fresh, fluffy, and almond buttery. But I have to be honest--this past weekend, Hun and I went to the local state fair and split one of Sil Brander's famous Texas Donuts (maple glazed), and that was heaven in a holey pastry--so fluffy, it was more air than pastry--it would've flattened out to something as thin as tissue paper, it was so airy--almost like a French cruller (my personal favorite doughnut). Why does this airiness matter? Because air is the best foil you can have for a thin, crisp, sweet fried donut crust. Since you can't have just air, a very airy dough is the next best thing. From what I saw, most of my fellow DBers' doughnuts had the same consistency as mine, which makes me really curious as to Brander's recipe. Another perk--even though they weren't fresh out of the fryer (not hot), they were still same-day fresh, and they were still delicious. This means they didn't fall under the Krispy Kreme Kurse--doughnuts that are good only when they're still hot. I want to look into different recipes to see if they conjur up fluffier, airier donuts.
- Happily, this is one of the DB recipes I've been able to halve successfully.
- To make the almond butter doughnuts, I just substituted almond butter for most of the butter.
- To make the fig pastry cream, I just made regular pastry cream and folded some fig puree into it.
- To make the chocolate glaze, I just melted and tempered some semisweet chocolate and dipped the doughnuts into it.
- I got great help from reading fellow DBer Audax Artifex's tips, including just mixing the dough enough to mix everything and letting the dough rise overnight in the fridge. The dough chills quite well.
- You can also freeze unfrosted, unfilled, fried doughnuts and just warm them in the microwave when you want.
- Chopsticks were a handy doughnut-frying aid, although if you're handy enough with chopsticks, they can help you with anything. Tying shoes. Brain surgery. That type of thing.
To check out my fellow DBers' doughnuts, roll through the blogroll.