Despite doughnuts being a modern day American symbol of gooey, sweet goodness that can be eaten at any time of the day, the humble doughnut finds its origins not from the Dutch but from a home cook residing in Hertfordhire, England.
Baroness Elizabeth Dimsdale who was the wife of Baron Thomas Dimsdale, a smallpox pioneer, compiled a recipe book in the 1800's containing a recipe by a local cook that made 'dow nuts' which were pieces of dough cut into the size of nuts, fried in pork lard.
Before the 1800's there is also evidence that of variation of doughnuts were dabbled with, excluding eggs. The Romans ad Greeks used to fry pastry dough and drizzle it with honey or syrup and the Germans used to stuff the doughnuts with savoury ingredients at a time when sugar was scarce.
It is said that the Dutch Immigrants brought their 'oliekoeks' (oily cakes) to Manahattan (New Amsterdam) in the early 1800's. In the mid 1800's, Elizabeth Gregory, mother to a New England ship captain made fried dough for her son and crew for their long voyages. Her son claim that it was his invention of the whole inside the doughnut, but nobody really knows.
Either way, doughnuts evolved into an American staple, so much so, they were eaten by the troops in France during the first World War. Doughnuts were big in the states and mass production of these fried doughy sweets began when Adolph Levitt, a Russian refugee inveted the first doughnut machine in the 1920's.
The wholly sweet dough is an indulgent snack and breakfast.... I upped the indulgence scale by throwing in a vanilla bean milkshake... I hope you enjoy making these doughnuts as much as I did and learned a little bit of food history on the way!
Will make about 16 x 60g doughnuts
14g instant yeast
60mls warm water
325 mls milk (don't even think about using light milk)
2 medium eggs (they should be around 50g-55g each)
100g fine caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
70g unsalted butter (melted)
625g plain flour
oil for deep frying
200g unsalted butter
40g good cocoa powder
100g icing sugar
In a mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over water and allow to stand for 5 minutes
With the paddle beater attachment, add the sugar, milk, salt, eggs and half the flour. Once the ingredients are incorporated, mix in the melted butter and the rest of the flour.
Knead the dough with dough hook or if you feel like a workout, by hand until nice and smooth.
Place in a well oiled bowl and cover with cling film or a damp cloth. Allow the dough to double in size.
Once the dough has doubled, take out all your anger and punch down the dough. Knead lightly on a well floured surface and use a round cookie cutter about 8 cm in diameter to cut out your shapes. Dip your finger in flour and poke in the centre of the cut circle, move it around and around so a hole is formed.
Heat a good amount of oil for deep frying at 180'c/360'f. If you don't have a thermometer, throw a small piece of dough into the oil to see if it is ready. Place the dough onto a slotted spoon and carefully into the oil.
Fry the doughnuts on one side and then flip them over. They should be a nice golden colour. Take out the doughnuts and place onto a cooling rack and allow them to chill for a bit before dunking them in some chocolate glaze.
For the chocolate glaze, over a low heat, melt butter and whisk in cocoa, icing sugar and milk until smooth.
Allow to cool slightly. Dunk one side of the doughnuts into the velvety glaze, turn the right way up and place back on the cooling rack. Let the excess chocolate glaze drip down the sides and allow them to set slightly before dunking them in your very vanilla milkhake.
Milkshake - serves 1!
A milkshake is a wonderous thing. It is so simple to make but you really can get it wrong by using artificially flavoured ingredients.
80g fresh full fat milk
1/2 tsp good vanilla bean paste or extract (Use an artificial vanilla flavouring and you will regret it)
180g good vanilla ice cream
Blend together and pour into a chilled glass.