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MARCH RECIPE – CINNAMON DOUGHNUTS TWO WAYS by Xuan Ha
Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cinnamon Honey Doughnuts with Raspberry Jam
This recipe should yield about 16 small-sized doughnuts.
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp active dry yeast
15 ml oil
30 ml warm water (around 40 ºC)
40 ml honey
80 ml milk
1 large egg (room temperature, lightly beaten)
250 g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
500 ml peanut oil, for deep frying
70 g icing sugar, for dusting
Vanilla custard filling
13 g cornstarch
30 g brown sugar
230 ml milk
2 large egg yolks
a small pinch of salt
extracted seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
Vanilla brown sugar glaze
75 ml milk
100 g brown sugar
extracted seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
For the doughnuts
In a mixing bowl, dissolve dried yeast with warm water and set aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast, then whisk in honey, ground cinnamon, egg, milk and oil to create a smooth mixture. Stir in salt and flour; continue to mix until achieving smooth dough. Transfer dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Transfer dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead several times. Cut the dough into two. Roll out the first half to a 1-centimeter thickness. Using doughnut cutter or pastry ring, cut out 5-centimeter-diameter rounds with 3-centimeter-diameter holes. For the second half, use your hands to form small balls, about 3 centimeters. Place all the prepared dough onto a floured baking sheet, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let them rise again in a warm place until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Check to see if the doughnuts are ready. To test, use a fingertip to lightly touch one of the doughnuts. If it springs back slowly, it’s ready. If the dough springs back immediately, it needs more time.
In a heavy saucepan, pour peanut oil to a depth of at least 5 centimeters and heat over medium high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 180 °C. Fry doughnuts, flip once, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a wire rack to drain. Let the doughnuts cool slightly before glazing or filling.
For the filled doughnuts, spoon vanilla custard filling into a piping bag with a small size round nozzle. Make a small hole in each doughnut and squeeze in the filling. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and serve immediately.
For the glazed doughnuts, dip doughnuts into the glaze and set on a wire rack to drain for 5 minutes before serving
For the filling
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks until smooth.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir constantly, gradually add milk and cook until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble. It takes about 5 minutes.
Once bubble, take the saucepan off the heat. Whisk egg yolks in the bowl constantly and slowly pour in one third of the milk mixture from the saucepan. Continue to whisk everything in the bowl until achieving a smooth yellowish milky mixture then pour it back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a full boil and becomes thick enough to hold its shape when lifted with a spoon. Remove from the heat, stir in extracted vanilla seeds.
Carefully strain the mixture to get rid of any lump of flour then cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from forming skin. Let it chill in fridge.
For the glaze
Whisk all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Dip each ring doughnut into the glaze. One-sided dipping is good enough for perfectly balanced taste, double-sided dipping is to satisfy your sweet tooth if preferred. Place on a wire rack and let sit for 20 minutes or until glaze is set.
Use peanut oil instead of others because it can be found easily here in Vietnam, it has neutral taste and most importantly, it has high smoke point which allow you to deep fry your doughnuts at high temperature.
Frying your doughnuts at the right temperature is crucial since it helps them to develop crispy crust on the outside while still keeping the moist on the inside. In order to do so, buying a food thermometer is highly recommended.
While making vanilla custard filling, be sure to bring the milk mixture to a full boil to activate the cornstarch and ensure proper thickening to avoid uncomfortable starchy taste and lumpy texture of the final outcome.