Monday, February 18, 2008
French Cruller Doughnuts
I was trolling through the other food blogs the other day and I noticed that Peabody and a friend had a doughnut making day where a bunch of different bloggers all made different doughnuts and then blogged about it -- linking back to Peabody or her friend. I did not participate in the doughnut making, but I did read about it. One person made the very recipe that I had been eying for a while in my Passion for Baking book -- French Crullers -- and therefore I had to make them today.
I will say that these are kind of a mess to make. The base dough (she calls it a choux) is incredibly thick and sticky and the process of putting it into a pastry bag and then piping it out led to choux stuck to various things it shouldn't have been stuck to. She also used a much bigger pastry tip than I had (1/2 inch) which made hers a bit prettier when she piped them out. I used the biggest pastry tip I had, but I think I could have just used the front of the bag and been okay. I ended up making three and sometimes four concentric circles trying to get mine right. In the end, I reduced the baking time by quite a lot because mine were just so much smaller than hers.
I also messed with the glaze recipe a bit (not much... I swear) because she wanted the doughnuts double dipped in glaze and if they were going to have that much glaze on them then I sure as hell wanted to like the glaze. Luckily, her glazes always seem to involve melted butter which seems to help powdered sugar glazes quite a lot. I also added about 2 tsps of Patron Citron just to give it a little something extra. The orange flavor is very, very faint, just adding a faint citrus flavor in the background -- but it took the glaze from a decent glaze, to a glaze I was quite happily licking off of my fingers.
The doughnuts have a very light texture, hollow in the middle and incredibly yummy. The glaze, as I mentioned before is sweet and good by itself. These are definitely a winner all around and well worth repeating. I'm not sure how good they will tomorrow, but still warm from the oven they are worth swooning over -- and I'm not a swooner. :)
Choux Paste Doughnut Base
1 cup milk
1 cup water
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
8 large eggs
Creamy Vanilla Glaze:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 to 4 tbsp milk
2 tsp liqueur of choice (optional)
Preheat oven to 400. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
For Choux Paste Doughnut base: In a large saucepan, stir milk, water, sugar, and salt together over medium heat. Stir in butter and allow it to melt. Increase heat and bring mixture to a rolling boil. Stir in flour all at once. Blend well with a wooden spoon, adding vanilla and beating briskly until mixture forms a ball that leaves the sides of pan. Beat vigorously 1 to 2 minutes before removing from burner and turning out into a mixer bowl. Allow mixture to cool 5 minutes.
Using a wide whisk or wooden spoon, add eggs, 1 at a time, until mixture is smooth and glossy. Spoon choux paste into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch star tip. On prepared baking sheets, leaving some space between each pastry, make a 4-inch circle of batter with another circle on top -- concentric circles. If you don't have a pastry bag, use a soup spoon to spread out a ring of batter as best you can. It will be fine once it puffs.
Bake pastry 15 minutes; then reduce oven temp to 375 and bake another 15 to 20 minutes (mine went 10 minutes, then another 10-13 since they were smaller) or until doughnuts are light in texture and medium brown all over. Cool slightly.
To make glaze, whisk everything together in a medium bowl to a thick glaze consistency, mixing in more milk or sugar as necessary to achieve a gloppy, thick glaze. Dip each doughnut once, let excess drip off back into bowl, let set, and then glaze again. Let doughnuts set on a wire rack.