suguared doughnuts

The baking crew is back! And we’re on a mission … of sorts. We’ve decided to bake our way through Thomas Keller & Sebastien Rouxel’s Bouchon Bakery cookbook.

One recipe at a time.

We started with Keller’s sugared doughnuts recipe.
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Mother of pearl!

Delicious. They are delicious. A brioche dough … shaped into doughnuts … fried in some oil … and then covered in sugar. And filled with lemon curd. Or filled with whipped chocolate. Or topped with freshly flaked coconut.

For realz. Awesome eh?

Ok so this recipe excites me because … well if you remember the last time I tried making brioche (with the baking crew) … it was not as successful as I had hoped it would be.

But this time … this time I rocked it! I totally got it. Even with a slight typo in the recipe.

I got it.

And the result was … PERRRRR-FECT.

Are you excited? Are you feeling an urge to make homemade doughnuts? (believe me … these doughnuts will make you a lover of fried dough)

Meredith, Cory and I were so excited to make them that we fried them up … OUTSIDE. in -20 temperatures. In the snow. With a windchill.

And … it was fun. Especially when we all popped our first doughnuts into our mouths … freshly rolled in sugar and filled with cream.

The best baking challenge yet (the entire baking crew agree).

A couple of things to take into consideration when working with this recipe:

You have to allow for the dough to rise in your refrigerator overnight. So start this before going to bed.

Secondly …you should probably get yourself a scale. I’ll post the recipe in weights and measures (since that’s how they write it in the book); however I used my scale when following the recipe.

Other than those two points … this is a pretty standard recipe. And if you’re new to bread making / are apprehensive about making dough … give this one a try. I promise it’ll work. Believe me. I know how you feel. Been there. Done that.

So pull out your instant yeast and flour and get busy. You won’t regret trying this recipe out.

Thomas Keller’s sugared doughnut recipe
ingredients:
518g / 3 1/2 c. + 3 tbsp flour
10g / 1 tbsp instant yeast
74g / 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp sugar
9g / 1 tbsp salt
212g / 3/4 c. + 1 1/2 tbsp milk, warmed to 75 F
111g / 2 eggs
9g / 1 1/2 tsp vanilla paste
57g / 2 ounces butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes

canola oil for frying
sugar to coat the doughnuts
lemon curd to fill doughnuts

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To make the dough. Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of your stand-mixer fitted with your dough hook. Mix for about 15 seconds just so that the yeast gets evenly distributed.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the butter, and mix on low speed for 4 minutes.

Now, continue to knead the dough for a further 30 minutes (your stand-mixer will likely feel warm, it should be fine). Add the small cubes of butter, one piece at a time, allowing it to be incorporated into the dough before adding more butter.

After 30 minutes (all the butter should have been added at this point), turn off the stand-mixer, scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl, push the dough off the hook: resume kneading on a low speed for another 5 minutes.

Run a spatula over the sides and bottom of the bowl and release the dough onto a very lightly floured surface. You only need enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking.

With your hands, gently pat the dough into a rectangular shape.

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As you can see from the picture above, you’ll want to stretch the left side of the dough out and then fold it over two-thirds of the dough (as though you are folding a letter into an envelope). Once the left side is folded in, repeat the process with the right side. Once that is done, do the exact same thing, working from the bottom and then the top.

That’s it.

20130124-194853.jpgFlip the dough over, seam side down and place it in your bowl (that you’ve sprayed with non-stick spray). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1 hour at room temperature.

1 hour later … use a spatula to release the sides and bottom of the dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

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You’ll do the same thing as you did the first time you stretched and folded the dough; only this time, you’ll cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To roll out the dough & shape the doughnuts.

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On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough, flipping and fluffing it (basically you just want to roll the dough, take your hand and gently lift the dough from the work surface, then turn the dough clockwise, repeat) into an 11-inch round.

Transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or freeze for 10 minutes); long enough to allow the dough to be more manageable.

Line another sheet with parchment paper, spray the parchment with non-stick spray (this is an important step), set aside.

Remove the dough from the fridge, and using your 3-inch round cookie cutters, cut out your doughnuts. The recipe says that you should get 8 rounds … I got 16 rounds.

If you just want to fill your doughnuts with pastry cream, whipped chocolate, lemon curd, etc. leave them as is. However, if you want to make doughnuts with holes; grab a small round cookie cutter and cut the centre out of your 3-inch rounds.

Save the mini rounds. They make pretty fabulous mini doughnuts.

To proof the doughnuts. Cover the baking sheet with a plastic tub or a cardboard box and proof for 60 to 90 minutes. The doughnuts will double in size; or when the dough is gently pressed, a small imprint will remain.

To fry the doughnuts. If you’re like me … you go over to a friend’s place and he sets up an awesome fryer outside so that his apartment doesn’t stink up (thank you Cory!). Or if you’re like Tom and Aimee you can use an indoor deep-fryer … both of these things make frying the doughnuts pretty simple.

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If you don’t have one of these options … you can pour 3 inches of oil into a Dutch oven or a heavy stockpot; the oil shouldn’t come up more than 1/3rd of the way up the sides of the pot, but it needs to be deep enough to allow the doughnuts to fry freely.

Heat the oil to 350 F.

Set a wire cooling rack over a cookie sheet, pour the sugar into a shallow bowl.

If you have a set of chopsticks you should pull them out for this part. They work perfectly for flipping the doughnuts in the oil and pulling them out of the oil. They are long enough that you keep your hands and fingers away from the oil while still controlling flipping the doughnuts.

Gently drop as many doughnuts as can fit into the pot. Fry on the second side for 45 seconds. Flip them over again and fry for a further 45 seconds, or until they are a rich golden brown.

Transfer the batch to the wire rack, and continue frying more of your doughnuts.

You want to roll them in the sugar while they are still warm (don’t worry, they cool enough to handle pretty quickly). If filling – allow the doughnuts to cool completely before using a piping bag and filling the doughnuts with your favourite flavours.

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That’s it.

All done. As you can see … it’s not an overly difficult or tricky recipe. You might be nervous to try it for any number of reasons: making dough, frying in oil, etc. But really, you should give it a try. It will make you a believer in doughnuts.

As you can see … the entire baking crew had a great time (and were pretty darn successful) in making a batch of these …

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lemon meringue cake

Mother of all things lemon and meringue.

I heart this cake!

That’s right.  I decided that although I love lemon meringue pie … sometimes one must celebrate an occasion with cake. 

Saturday night was one of those occasions.  A 40th birthday bash which required cake.  But not just any cake would do … oh no! 

It had to be tart. And fresh. With a (good) splash of lemoncello. And topped with a soft meringue. 

It could only be one thing. 

A lemon meringue cake.

I had previously spotted a similar cake on donna hay’s website.  She had created a chocolate cake bottomed cake … which I will admit – looks stellar in the pictures: the bright white meringue atop brilliant yellow curd and the dark chocolate shell … very pretty … just not what I wanted … flavour-wise.  I needed to punch up the lemon factor for this birthday gal.

I’m thrilled with how it all turned out.

And it really couldn’t have been any easier.  All you need is one layer of cake, some lemon curd, and meringue.  Easy?  Heck ya!

For this recipe … I ended up using my grandmother’s lemon curd recipe.  Recently I’ve been using little red kitsch’n lemon curd recipe – but I wanted to go back to my old school recipe … my grandmother’s lemon curd … with a generous splash of lemoncello.  Plus … I needed egg whites for the meringue … and this curd recipe only uses egg yolks.

 lemon meringue cake

ingredients:

lemon cake:

280 g sugar
80 g butter, room temperature
240 g flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 lemons, juice and zest
240 mL buttermilk
 
Heat your oven to 350 F.  Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together.  This will not result in a über creamy mixture.  There isn’t enough butter to sugar ratio … but it will form a pea-like mixture.  That’s good.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Add the dry ingredients to your butter / sugar batter and mix on low-speed.

In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice and eggs together. 

Slowly pour the wet ingredients into your mixing bowl (again, leaving the mixer at low-speed).  Once the eggs have been incorporated into the batter, increase the speed to medium and beat for a further 30 seconds.

Using a spatula, scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl – ensuring that all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. 

Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan.  Don’t worry if you have a little left over batter – they make excellent mini cupcakes.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes – this obviously depends on how thick a cake you are baking.  I always like to check my cakes at the 20 minute mark … you’ll know it’s ready when the sides start to pull away from the cake pan.

Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  It’s time to make your lemon curd.

Isabel’s lemon curd:

1 c. sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. lemon juice
1 tbsp (I used more) lemoncello
Zest of an entire lemon
1 tbsp butter
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten (save the whites for your meringue)

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, flour, water, lemon juice, lemoncello, and lemon zest. Put the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring until it is about to come to a boil and slightly thickens.

Remove it from heat and stir in the butter. Take about 1/2 c. of the mixture and add it to the egg yolks – it’ll temper the yolks and keep them from curdling. Whisk the egg yolks well – once they’re smooth, pour them into the saucepan. Return the pan to the heat and cook it, whisking constantly – bubbles will form in the mixture. At this point – remove your lemon curd from heat, and strain it through a sieve into a clean bowl.  Cover it with plastic wrap and allow to cool in the fridge while you prepare your lemon cake for filling.

When your cake has cooled completely, turn it out of the pan onto a plate.  I decided to make a template of a smaller (6-inch round) cake pan – placing it in the middle of the cake and using a sharp knife to outline the circle.  This created my guideline for spooning out the middle of the cake.

Once my template was marked, I grabbed a small spoon and gently spooned out the majority of the centre of the cake.  You don’t want to remove all of it though!  You need this to be a shell for the lemon curd (since it is replacing the pie crust), and you don’t want a weakened cake base.

Spoon the lemon curd into the “empty” centre of the cake and smooth it over with a knife or spatula. 

You’re almost there …

Meringue:

4 egg whites
1/4 c sugar
pinch of cream of tartar
 
In the bowl of your stand mixer (with the whisk attachment), beat the egg whites on medium-high until foamy. Incorporate the sugar a spoonful at a time, add the pinch of cream of tartar and then increase the speed of the mixer to its highest setting.  You want the egg whites to form glossy peaks … not too stiff … but enough that they hold their shape.

Top the entire cake with the meringue.  Make it pretty!  Use a spoon to create a neat swirly effect.  And then … I blow torched it.  I somehow didn’t remember to take a picture of the finished product before I rushed off to the party … but you can imagine … a beautiful golden meringue. 

Absolute perfection.  And it tasted bloody delicious as well. 

rhubarb lemon almond loaf

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! 

That’s right … it’s rhubarb season!

I heart heart HEART rhubarb. 

It’s tart and fresh …

It screams spring is finally here

My mouth salivates just thinking about it.

Add to it some lemon curd and almonds … and you have yourself the makings of a pretty darn delicious loaf.

For realz.

This combo is ridiculously delightfulI tend to use those words a lot to describe my baking … don’t I???

Well it is!

It’s got that slight nutty flavour thanks to the almond meal and slivered almonds … plus it has the tartness of the stewed rhubarb AND then … the pop of the lemon curd … which just melts into the loaf as it bakes.

Sigh.

RIDICULOUSLY. DELIGHTFUL. No word of a lie.

I based this recipe on the hummingbird bakery‘s rhubarb almond loaf The lemon curd isn’t necessary … but it sure does make for a tasty treat.  Lemon and rhubarb are a combo made in heaven … I promise.

stewed rhubarb

ingredients:

4 – 5 stalks rhubarb, chopped into small pieces

70 g sugar

20 g butter

Place the rhubarb in a saucepan along with sugar, butter and 50 ml of water.  Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb softens.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

almond loaf

ingredients:

190 g butter, at room temperature

140 g flour

190 g sugar

3 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

50 g ground almonds

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ginger

25 ml buttermilk

100 g stewed rhubarb

1/4 c. lemon curd

15 g flaked almonds

 Preheat oven to 325 F.  Grease the loaf pan and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.  About 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well on medium speed after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything has been mixed properly.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl; combine the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, cinnamon and ginger.  Add half of the mixture to the creamed butter/sugar/egg mixture, followed by half the buttermilk. 

Mix well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl.  Add the remaining dry ingredients and then the rest of the buttermilk.

Stir in the stewed rhubarb making sure it is evenly mixed into the batter, then pour into the prepared loaf tin.  Add dollops of the lemon curd.  Swirl them in.Sprinkle with flaked almonds on top.

Bake for 50 – 60 minutes