Sunday, 5 July 2009

Homemade Doughnuts

Or Gravy Rings in Northern Ireland.

After much faffing, fiddling and finger licking I've finally found a recipe for gravy rings that we love.

I try not to make them too often because enriched dough + deep frying + sugar coating = lardy butt. Well, I try at least.

These are risen doughnuts so you'll need to plan a bit of time to make them.

Raid the larder for;

1 pack quick or instant yeast (1/4 oz - 7g)
1/8 cup lukewarm water
3/4 lukewarm milk (scald and cool or bung in the micro for 30 secs like I do)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup shortening
3 1/2 cups plain flour*

Add yeast to lukewarm water and add the milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening and one cup of flour.

Using a whisk or handheld beater, beat these ingredients until well combined. It shouldn't take more than a minute and scrape down the bowl as necessary.

Fold in the remaining flour and then cover the bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Once the dough has risen and is roughly doubled in size, turn out onto a well floured surface (and I mean well floured). Using your hands press the dough out until it is approximately 1/2 inch thick, then using a doughnut cutter, cut out doughnuts as economically as possible, try not to leave large pieces of dough in between each cut. Alternatively you can do as I do and using a sharp knife cut the dough into squares roughly 2in x 2in, tastes the same and no waste**.

Transfer the doughnuts to a greased baking sheet and leave to rise again for 30 - 40 minutes.

Once the doughnuts have risen again, fill a pan with vegetable or canola oil and place over a medium/high heat (approx 180C/350F). The oil will need to be at least two inches deep, you can use a smaller pan and cook the doughnuts one or two at a time and save oil.

Once the oil has heated, using a spatula, slide the doughnuts gently away from you into the oil and cook on either side for 2-3 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Remove the doughnuts to a wire rack*** to drain and cool slightly before rolling in caster sugar.

* - Its quite humid in Northern Ireland, but if you live somewhere drier then bear in mind that you may only need as little as 2 1/2 cups of flour so add the flour a cup at a time. The dough should be very soft, but you should also just barely be able to handle it. If you get the feeling that you can work with it quickly, but stay in contact too long and you'll stick like glue, the dough's perfect.

** - You will need to put down a good thick layer of flour before turning the dough out and flour your hands well before handling. Once you have cut the doughnuts out, lift each one and quickly toss from one hand to the other to remove some of the excess flour. Because of the amount of flour needed, you can't re-roll this dough as all that extra flour would be incorporated into the dough and you'd end up with a handful of dry, tasteless doughnuts. If waste is an issue for you, cut them into squares.

*** - Try not to pierce the surface of the doughnuts when lifting them out of the oil or they'll absorb the excess oil.


Ah go on, sure you're here anyway.