You know Christmas is well and truly upon you when you find yourself weeping to the final scenes of Love Actually at the outdoor cinema in Silo Park. To celebrate (the season, not the weeping) I threw a Christmas party for my new colleagues this weekend (just a mere three weeks after starting). The menu was a little unconventional though. We figured that since pulled pork tacos came from the same animal as a big Ham it was pretty much a Christmas food. I also love Christmas fruit mince tarts as well as custard but I also love doughnuts. What did I do? I combined my three loves to create these glorious creations for dessert.
I used Kim Evans' brioche dough recipe from Treats from Little and Friday and filled them with a basic vanilla custard and a smidge of Tasti fruit mince.
I finally got around to investing in a candy/deep fryer thermometer. It set me back a whole $10 from The Homestore but it made this round of doughnuts far less hit and miss than the last batch I made.
The original recipe says to roll the dough out to 4cm thick. I seriously have no idea how these would ever cook on the inside without resembling a lump of Christmas coal on the outside. I rolled my dough out to about 1cm. I then cut out circles and used my palm to further flatten out the dough so that it was closer to 5mm in thickness. Here are the reasons why you want the dough to be quite thin before you fry it:
- Allows the centre of the doughnut to actually cook in the time it takes for the outside to turn golden brown.
- When the inside rapidly heats up, the liquid water turns to steam and the force of expansion causes the doughnuts to puff up and form a fillable cavity.
- Less space taken up by bread means more space for custard.
I learnt the hard way that you cannot easily pipe fruit mince into a doughnut. The raisins kept getting stuck in the nozzle I was using. In the end I just removed the tip and used the piping bag as is. It was a bit fiddly but it got the job done in the end.
I encourage laziness when making these. Use a mixer with a dough hook as the dough is really sticky and just creates an epic awkward mess on your hands.
I have halved the original dough recipe. It makes a hella lot of dough. As I type, I am baking the brioche which I filled with peanut butter, chocolate chips and salted peanuts. I couldn't face another piece of fried bread after last night yet I could still manage bread drowned in salted caramel?
Adapted from Treats from Little and Friday by Kim Evans
Makes 10 (plus four burnt attempts)
For the brioche dough:
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
2 small eggs
70g butter, softened slightly, chopped into cubes
For the custard:
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or just plain old vanilla)
250g Tasti traditional fruit mince
1L canola oil for frying
1 cup icing sugar for dusting
To make the custard, warm the milk over a medium heat In a large saucepan. Heat until warm. Whisk together the sugar,egg yolks and vanilla until pale (I use an electric beater or my stand mixer for this). Add in the flour and beat until smooth. While still beating, slowly pour in the milk. Once all the milk has been added and the egg mixture dispersed, return the custard back to the saucepan. Continuously stir the custard with a spatula over a lowish heat. Heat until the custard is nice and thick. Remove from the stove and refrigerate so that it sets. If you press a piece of baking paper over the top of the custard it will not form a skin.
To make the brioche, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Whisk together the milk and eggs then slowly pour and stir into the dry ingredients. You can do this by hand or with a mixer. Knead the dough for about ten minutes, until it is smooth. Then knead in small amounts of butter, cube at a time until it has all been blended in. This will be tedious so I really recommend using a dough hook. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
Pour the oil 5cm deep into a small saucepan. Turn on the heat to a quarter of the maximum and leave for ten minutes. The ideal temperature is just below 180 degrees. When a small ball of dough is added, it should bubble ferociously the instant it makes contact with the oil.
Roll the dough out until it is about 1cm thick. Take a 10cm circular cookie cutter and cut out circles. Press the disc slightly thinner with the heel of your hand. Experiment with the first disc of dough. The dough should puff up and the side submerged in oil should be no darker than a golden brown. Flip the doughnut and cook until golden. Once cooked, remove and leave to drain on a cooling rack. Cut this first doughnut in half to see if the inside is fully cooked. If it is still doughy, reduce the temperature of the oil to slow the browning process. Repeat for the rest of your doughnuts. Leave to cool on a wire rack and use a sharp knife to poke a hole into the cavity.
Fill a piping bag without a nozzle with the fruit mince filling. Pipe a teaspoons worth into each doughnut. Then using a clean piping bag with a large circular tip, fill the rest of the cavity up with a good dollop of custard. Toss each doughnut in the icing sugar so it is totally coated just before you intend to serve them.
Eat these the very same day (although to be honest I don't think you will have any leftovers to worry about).