Monday, July 25, 2011

Market fruit (and doughnuts)

Saturday morning while the boys were getting haircuts I went to the farmer's market and was seduced by all of the wonderful in-season, locally-grown fruit on display. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries all made the trip home with me. I was briefly tempted by some peaches but decided not to push my luck. (Peaches are an August fruit around our house.) After rushing the fruit home I rushed myself over to the movie theatre to meet Daniel so we could watch the last Harry Potter movie together. We've been going every week the last seven weeks, viewing one Harry Potter flick every Saturday morning from Philosopher's Stone through to this, the final installment of the Deathly Hallows. We've read most of the books together but Daniel wanted the final part of Deathly Hallows to be a 'surprise'. I, of course, knew what was going to happen having read the books as they were released. I still wasn't prepared. So we both laughed, screamed and cried (sobbed, really) together for two hours. It was awesome.

After being immersed in the Harry Potter universe for seven weeks, the 'oh-my-gosh it's really over' feeling has now overtaken both Daniel and I. Good thing I bought those raspberries. When I saw them I had a specific fate in mind for them - Doughnut Holes with Raspberry Jam. Because fried dough is the perfect way to mark the end of something great. I really wanted to try and think up a Harry Potter themed dish to honour the conclusion of our journey through the J.K. Rowling universe but nothing I found seemed quite right. As fate would have it, when I decided to make these doughnuts Saturday afternoon and took a closer look at the recipe I saw it was written by one Ginerva Iverson. Ginerva (Ginny) Weasley becomes Mrs. Harry Potter at the close of Deathly Hallows Part II. Coincidence? Not on this blog.

This recipe comes from Food & Wine magazine, which I've only recently discovered thanks to my friends James & Lisa who always bring me food magazines when they come to visit. (I like it when they visit, for so many reasons.) You need to have some time on your hands to make these doughnuts because yeast is involved, which means you have to hurry up and wait for things to happen. You begin, appropriately enough, by making the 'starter':

3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour 

In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix in the flour. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour. 

I've already mentioned it's darn hot around here lately. We've been keeping the house fairly cool thanks to air conditioning but David insists ('s a fine line) our room is the hottest in the house, no matter how high we have the air conditioning cranked. Which doesn't make for comfortable sleeping conditions, but when tasked with finding an appropriate place for your doughnut starter to rise (as above, in a warm place)...I must admit that David's side of the bed was the first place that came to mind. So that's where my starter went for an hour. Once your starter has doubled in size in whatever warm place you have in your house you can move on to making the dough:

3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 tablespoons milk, warmed
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar 

In a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast in the milk. Add the flour, salt, egg yolks, butter, sugar and the starter and mix until the dough forms a ball. Scrape the dough into a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour.  

Once you finish making your dough, it's back up to the bedroom (i.e. warm place) for an hour. Funny that no one asked me why I was transporting bowls of dough up and down the stairs all afternoon. Seems my boys know me well enough not to ask. Now it's time to make your jam:

1 pint red raspberries (12 ounces)
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for coating
In a saucepan, simmer the raspberries with the 1 1/2 cups of sugar over moderate heat until thickened, about 25 minutes. Scrape the jam into a bowl and let cool for 1 hour.

Could anything be easier? Or better? Fresh raspberries are great on their own - simmer them with sugar for twenty minutes or so and good things happen. I don't know what I'm doing to do with all this raspberry goodness but I must make sure it doesn't go to waste.

By the time you've finished your jam you can move on to preparing the dough for frying. I rolled it out on a lightly floured surface and proceeded to cut out 1 inch rounds. I don't have a 1 inch round cookie cutter so I had to improvise. Turns out the cap from your average water bottle is 1 inch across. So that's what I used:

These little circles were placed on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Then I covered them with a damp towel and let them sit for 15 minutes. During which time I prepared my frying oil. The recipe calls for you to put 1 inch of vegetable oil in a saucepan and heat to 325 degrees. Once your oil is hot enough, plop in the rounds and let them fry for 2 minutes. Which looks like this:

I admit to being very skeptical that my flat little circles were going to become round doughnut holes. Yes, they do look like chicken balls. Patience - after a few more steps they will indeed look (and taste) like doughnuts. Promise.

After two minutes I used a slotted spoon to scoop my doughnut holes out of their oil spa. I drained them on cookie racks which were set over paper towels to catch any grease drips. Then I rolled each one (still hot/warm) in granulated sugar. It took two rounds to fry all of my dough. Which means that about four hours after I started making my doughnut holes it took all of four minutes to fry them. And about four seconds to devour them because they were gooood:

You can just pop a sugar coated piece of delight straight into your mouth or take the time to dip your doughnut in fresh raspberry jam. Either way, you really can't go wrong. Of course, being Canadian one is inclined to compare these to Timbits. They are smaller, for sure, but just as tasty. Tastier, actually, owing to the satisfaction of having made them myself. (Yes, I know how much a snack pack of Timbits costs and how quickly and effortlessly they may be acquired. Obviously you haven't read my Marshmallows post.) I would suggest eating these as soon as you can after they are made. They are best when they are warm. The jam dresses them up a bit but isn't strictly necessary. David conceded to try one with jam even though he always avoids Timbits with jam. Mostly because Timbits with jam sneak up on you, the jam squirting into your mouth in a random way as you pop Timbits into your mouth while heading down the highway (we tend to save Timbit purchases for road trips). Which reminds me of Freshen-Up gum. Do you remember Freshen-Up gum? The gum that had an oozy centre that squirted into your mouth as you chew? I doubt David has fond memories of Freshen-Up gum either. So. Doughnut holes. I may just have to branch out and try doughnuts next time....

No comments:

Post a Comment