My apologies for being a day tardy with the donut recipe I promised. I was busy cleaning up my mess. Yes, donuts are messy, but they are worth it because they are special, making them teaches you patience and precision, and they are delicious. In the weeks ahead I will be exploring the adaptability of this recipe using non-dairy milks; using gluten-free flours, baking instead of frying donuts, wildly decreasing the sugar in the glazes, and even making savory donuts (that means cheese, people). Stay tuned!
1 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 ounces vegetable shortening or lard, approximately 1/3 cup
*Note: I don’t believe properly sourced natural lard is bad for you, so I’m not wincing, but if you are, read this and this).
2 packages instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
2 egg yolks, broken with a fork
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar or honey
*Note: You can use down to as little as a teaspoon of sugar or honey, as I did, and still achieve excellent results, but the yeast benefits from some sugar so don’t leave it out
1 teaspoon freshly ground mace, cinnamon or nutmeg
23 ounces BREAD FLOUR (not all purpose), plus more for dusting surface
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1 to 1/2 gallons, depending on fryer; I used a dutch oven with excellent results)
Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat to 110 degrees. Place the shortening or lard in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add 1 cup of flour and let sit for 30 minutes in a warm spot. Pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture (making sure it’s lukewarm and not hot). Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
Of course you can do the mixing by hand if you’re up for an arm workout.
Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Alternatively, you can place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight, then take out to let rise for an hour in the morning. That’s what I did.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to roughly ½ inch thick. Cut out dough using donuts cutters, a jar lid, or anything circular that is roughly the size of the donuts you want. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pureed nectarine
1 tablespoon light corn syrup or brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted