Every year, on Fat Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Dutch celebrate a farewell to sweets and treats by eating loads of fausnaughts, which are doughnuts to everyone else. The difference between a fausnaught and a typical doughnut, is the main ingredient, which happens to be mashed potatoes. The reason for this all out feast is to rid the home of items that are traditionally not be eaten during the Lenten season.
The Polish, also celebrate this day by eating their own version of the doughnut, which is aptly named the paczki (pronounced punch-kee). While not made with mashed potatoes, paczkis are stuffed with creams or jellies to make a breakfast treat even more delectable.
Being so far away from either of these cultures, I decided that this year, I would start the doughnut making tradition in my own house, however I did not follow the standard recipe. Instead, I chose this as the perfect opportunity to try out Joanne Chang's vanilla filled doughnuts from the Flour cookbook!
I was pretty nervous about frying up some dough as I had never fried anything before. Using canola oil, really had me distraught too, as I typically stick with olive oil for most recipes. Everything turned out perfectly fine though! Doughnut frying is not at all difficult, as long as you realize that you are not eating these for your health! I will most certainly be making them again, even though the oil does make your house smell like a carnival...
Also, I did not end up putting the vanilla cream in the middle, simply because my piping equipment broke. I made sure to use a lot of sugar to cover the outside of the doughnut, and put about 1/4 cup of additional sugar into the dough.
Vanilla Creme Doughnutsadapted from Flour --> This cookbook should definitely be added to your collection!
•1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
•2/3 cup milk, room temperature
•3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for baking sheet
•1 1/3 cups sugar (I added 1/4 cup more)
•2 teaspoons coarse salt
•3 large eggs
•7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
•Canola oil, for frying- at least 1 container
•6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 recipe, Pastry Cream
1.In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir together yeast and milk; let stand until yeast is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add flour, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, and eggs; mix on low speed until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Continue mixing on low 2 to 3 minutes more. Add butter, a few pieces at a time, mixing after each addition and until butter is fully incorporated and dough is soft, 5 to 6 minutes.
2.Remove dough from bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 15 hours (I kept mine in the refrigerator for 24 hours).
3.Lightly flour a baking sheet; set aside. On a well-floured work surface, roll out dough into 12-inch square about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2-to-4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 9 doughnuts. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm spot until they've doubled in height and feel puffy and pillowy, 2 to 3 hours. I actually let mine rise overnight because my home is chilly.
4.Fill a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with oil to a depth of 3 inches; heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer. Working in batches, place doughnuts in the hot oil, taking care not to crowd them. Fry until golden brown on one side, 2 to 3 minutes; turn and continue frying on remaining side until golden, 2 to 3 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to a paper towel-lined baking sheet until cool enough to handle.
5.Place remaining cup of sugar in a small bowl. Toss doughnuts in sugar, one at a time, to evenly coat. Return doughnuts to paper towel-lined baking sheet to cool completely, 30 to 40 minutes.
6.Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in pastry cream; you should have 3 cups of filling. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip; set aside.
7.Poke a hole in the side of each cooled doughnut and fill with about 1/3 cup filling; serve immediately.
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1.In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium-high heat until bubbles just start to form around the edges but milk is not yet boiling. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together sugar, flour, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks until well combined; slowly whisk in flour mixture until thick and pasty.
2.Remove milk from heat and slowly add to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer egg mixture to saucepan and place over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 3 minutes. Boil, whisking, for 10 seconds, and immediately remove from heat.
3.Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve set over a small heatproof bowl; stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.