It’s Carnival season around these parts – before Lent the shops are decorated, kids’ costumes are on the racks, and doughnuts – sišky, fánk, or vdolky, depending on where you are – seem to be frying up everywhere you turn. I’m not complaining, or maybe I am, because it’s hard to get enough exercise in the winter to work off those deep-fried treats; anyway, a warm sugary puff is a pretty delicious way to beat the snowbound blues.
While I was researching recipes, I found most of them call for filling the doughnuts with jam after you fry them, using a piping tool. That was definitely more trouble than I’m willing to go to these days, but I remembered seeing a method for filling doughnuts before frying. It was an unlikely source – a Martha Stewart recipe for Hanukkah sufganiyot – but it was effective.
A couple of the doughnuts puffed up around the seal, but none of them leaked any of their fillings of jam or nougat (like Nutella). Success!
Makes about 12 doughnuts
- 1 cup/240 ml milk
- 2 oz/28 grams butter
- 3½ –3¾ cups/400-420 grams flour
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 1/3 cup/60 grams sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, separated
- ½ cup jam and/or nougat (or even frosting) for the filling
- Additional sugar to roll the doughnuts in
- Heat the milk and butter together in a small pan until just below boiling. Set aside and allow to cool to lukewarm.
- In a large bowl, stir together 3½ cups flour, yeast, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt. When milk mixture has cooled, add it to the dry ingredients along with the egg yolks (reserving the whites for later). Mix to form a soft dough, then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and still a bit sticky, adding more flour a tablespoon at a time if it’s very sticky. Place the dough in a clean bowl, cover, and leave in a warm place to rise for 2 hours or until doubled (or in the fridge overnight).
- When dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface and roll out to about 1/8″ (0.5 cm) thin. Using a 2″/7 cm round cookie cutter, cut out circles; you can re-roll the scraps until you use up all the dough; you should get about 24 circles.
- Brush a circle with the reserved egg whites, then place about a teaspoon of filling in the center of the circle. Top with another of the dough circles, and pinch along the edge to seal. Repeat until all the circles have been used.
- Cover the doughnuts with a cloth and leave for 20-30 minutes or just until puffed.
- In the meantime, heat about 2 cups/0.5 liter of vegetable oil in a large pan. When a scrap of dough sizzles when you drop it in, the oil is hot enough.
- Fry the doughnuts in batches, being careful not to overcrowd them. Cook each doughnut for about 3 minutes or until golden brown, then turn and cook another 3 minutes.
- Place the cooked doughnuts on a layer of paper towels to cool for a minute or two; while they are still warm, roll them in granulated sugar and serve.