It’s been raining a lot these days.
And the night has been falling late in the morning; leaving very few hours for the light to turn from golden to blue.
It feels like I’m learning to read the time again. Except, not with numbers, but colours.
I’ve been frying a lot of doughnuts these days.
In a small pan over my gas stove, and in the large deep-fryer of a kitchen made of stainless-steel and bright halogen lamps.
Some were eaten by lunchers along with a chocolate crémeux and a quenelle of banana sorbet. Or like a couple of days ago, on top of a verrine filled with chocolate crème pâtissière, yoghurt foam, and caramelised cinnamon ice-cream.
Others were eaten plain. With a maple syrup glaze and bits of bacon, or just rolled in sugar.
And believe me, warm doughnuts eaten with your fingers are the best kind. They feel like biting lips. The ones that are coated in sugar and belong to your favourite boy.
Doughnuts à la vanille
Adapted from Lara.
My way of making doughnuts certainly isn’t right. I knead the dough like I would with brioche – using this technique, which is nicely demonstrated here by Richard Bertinet. Let it rest in the fridge for one day. Then roll, cut, and fry.
Straight away. At 170°C.
Maybe I should let the doughnuts proof. But somehow, the result feels perfect and the dough so much easier to handle.
I guess it’s one of those things that will be discovered with time. And even though, a couple of kilograms of flour have already been turned into plump little doughnuts – whether at home or at work – I’m hoping I’ll find the time to experiment with yeast and sugar again.
So far, I’ve tried a couple of recipes. And this one – adapted from Lara – is my favourite. I think it might be the use of egg yolks only which gives them the perfect texture.
Doughnuts à la vanille
100g plain flour
250g milk, at room temperature
one tsp instant yeast
180g plain flour
40g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
seeds from one vanilla bean
70g butter, at room temperature
oil, for frying
caster sugar, to coat
Place 100g of flour in a bowl along with the milk and instant yeast, mixing with a whisk. Cover loosely with a tea towel and allow to proof for 30 minutes.
Mix in all the remaining ingredients, except for the butter. The dough will feel very sticky. Transfer it to a clean work surface – ideally made of marble – and keeping your left hand clean, incorporate the diced butter as if you were digging into earth with your hands.
Then, using a scraper, get the dough back together and start kneading until it feels smooth and no longer sticky.
Lightly flour a container, place the dough inside. Dust some more flour and clingfilm to the contact. Chill overnight, up to two days.
When you’re ready, heat some vegetable oil to 170°C. Flour your work surface and place the dough on it. Punch it gently to get rid of some of the air, then roll out to 2cm. Cut into the desired shape and deep-fry for 2 minutes on each side, or until nicely brown. Drain on paper towel, then coat in caster sugar.