I had all the ingredients for date and walnut cake doughnuts in the pantry, but I think you could substitute the dates and walnuts for whatever you have on hand – dried cherries with almonds; sultana and hazelnut, perhaps. Whichever combo you go for, do chop them nice and small to make piping the doughnut easy.
While the batter was resting, I cut up the baking paper squares and heated the oil. I definitely recommend a sugar thermometer – they’re not expensive and take the guesswork out of oil temperature, with the added bonus of making me feel a lot safer. I also kept the saucepan lid close by, just in case.
I didn’t have a piping bag on hand, so used a standard-issue ziplock bag (one of my favourite kitchen tools – my freezer is full of things frozen flat in ziplocks so they defrost super quick) with the corner cut off. Start with a small cut, as you can always make it larger. It took me three goes to get it right and then I began piping donuts.
Meanwhile, the oil had come up to temperature and I carefully placed my first donut in, paper side up. The paper lifted off easily and there was a satisfying amount of bubbling oil and browning dough. I noticed that my oil temperature had continued to rise – it got up to about 195°C – so I turned off the gas and the oil stayed above 180°C for a good 10 minutes. As it started to cool, I turned the gas on again to bring it back up to temperature.
The donuts cooked quickly and easily – I managed to do two at a time and then drained them on paper towels. The recipe calls for an apple juice and icing sugar glaze, but I subbed in lemon juice and went for the drizzle rather than the full dip. The verdict – well worth the minimal effort to create fresh donuts at home and I’ll definitely be trying the other recipes in this feature. Much to Mr Ed’s delight.
Do you prefer cinnamon sugar or glazed?
Editor, SBS Feast