Growing up in Greece, I always thought the beach was the only place you could find donuts. Maybe because it actually was at the time (I highly doubt that) or maybe because I had them connected with the carelessness of summer.
Nowadays, of course, there are many chain stores selling them, as does almost any bakery. Still, none of these can beat the homemade ones. And don’t for instance think they are difficult to make. On the contrary, donuts are one of the simplest sweets you can make that everyone (guaranteed!) will love.
Their flavors have evolved over the years but for me nothing can compete the all time classic chocolate glazed donut and its strawberry jam filling!
For the donuts
- 450 gr plain flour
- 1 sachet dried yeast
- 200 ml milk
- 30 gr sugar
- 60 gr butter, at room temperature
- 3 free-range egg yolks (do not use the whole egg)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- sunflower oil for deep frying
For the dark chocolate glaze
- 125 gr dark chocolate
- 125 gr sugar
- 125 gr double cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract for flavoring or, 1 tablespoon cognac
- assorted colored sprinkles, for decoration
- strawberry jam for the filling
Directions for the donuts
- Mix all ingredients, except the flour, in a bowl until they combine really well (that is your yeast mixture).
- Sift the flour and put on a separate large bowl. Make a well on the flour and pour in the yeast mixture and mix well to make a dough.
- Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it rest for 1 hr (it should double in size).
- Transfer the dough on a floured work surface (use a touch of flour to prevent it from sticking to your hands).
- Roll dough to about 1 cm thick. Use a large round biscuit cutter (a large drinking glass will do too) to cut big circles and use a smaller round cutter (or a smaller glass) to cut holes inside those big circles (those will be your mini donuts). Of course, if you are one of those gadget maniacs, you can buy a donuts cutter and use that.
- Knead the remaining dough (from around the big circles) again and repeat step 5 until you use all of it.
- Place the donuts on a baking tray covered with grease paper and let them rest for 20 minutes (they will rise slightly).
- Heat 4-5 cm of oil in a deep pan to 190°C/375°F, or to the point when a cube of bread dropped in sizzles and turns golden in 30 seconds. (CAUTION: do not leave unattended, hot oil can be very dangerous).
- Start with the hole-in-the-middle donuts and gently lower one at a time into the hot oil, in batches of two or three so that they will not stick to each other. Fry for 3-5 minutes or until golden-brown, and then carefully turn over. Remove from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
- After you fried all the big ones, repeat with the mini-donuts (1-2 minutes each side will be enough to get a lovely golden-brown color).
Directions for the glaze
- In a bain marie, start melting the dark chocolate.
- When 1/3 of the chocolate is melted, add the rest of the ingredients and still occasionally until they all melt.
- Mix well to make a unified shiny glaze and continue stirring until it starts to slightly thicken.
- Remove from the heat and let it cool down for a few minutes.
For the jam-filled mini-donuts
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip with strawberry jam (or, any jam you like or even nutella. Yummy!). Poke a hole in the donuts equidistant between the top and bottom with a knife and squirt in a bit of the jam.
- Cover with chocolate glaze or simply sprinkle some sugar on top.
For the big circle donuts
- Cover with the chocolate glaze and decorate with colored sprinkles
Tip: Bain marie
A Bain Marie is a water bath made by placing a container (pan, bowl, soufflé dish, etc) in which you are cooking into another pan which has warm water.
The warm water heats the ingredient by conduction. The food may be cooked this way either in an oven or on the hob. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and to warm baby milk.