Imagine warm blueberry pie, with that gorgeous, naturally sweet, just set, deep violet filling. Now imagine that filling inside of an airy, fried pillow of dough. This is what I daydream about these days. During a family dinner last month, my cousin’s husband requested jelly doughnuts. And they’ve been on my mind ever since.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been cleansing for the past three weeks. Every morning I drink a tall glass of cold water mixed with psyllium husks as fast as I can (which gives me brainfreeze), followed by a smoothie that consists of frozen blueberries, soy protein powder and flax oil, and then another dose of psyllium husks before bed. It’s really not so bad. But what makes this morning routine bearable are the blueberries. I’ve got mad love for blueberries.
Of course, when on any type of cleanse, I tend to obsess about the things I should be avoiding, such as beautiful, deep-fried, blueberry filled doughnuts. Something had to be done.
The first batch was nearly a disaster. I threw the dough together and refrigerated it overnight as instructed. When I woke the next morning, I discovered that the bowl I used was too small and the dough had runneth over. And it was runny, more of a batter than a dough. I took one look at it and knew that it couldn’t be rolled out. So I moved on to plan B, and tried another recipe. And did the whole thing by hand rather than use my stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. The initial results seemed much better. And I loved kneading the dough by hand. I loved kneading the dough so much that I was convinced that I could salvage that first batch of dough. So I added more flour. And then more flour. I kneaded until the dough came together into a huge, smooth, elastic mass.
I was actually quite happy with that batch of doughnuts, but since I used three different types of flour (all-purpose, bread, and pastry) and had no idea how much I actually added to the original recipe, I thought I should give it another go. And then I found another recipe that looked promising, so I made a few adjustments. And spent another Sunday making doughnuts.
Through all of this trial and error, the greatest lesson I’ve learned is this: the key to being a happy, successful doughnut maker is to be sure that there are people around to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Because raised doughnuts take time. And patience. But there is nothing quite like a doughnut, freshly fried, filled with warm fruit, and coated in powdered (or granulated) sugar. And they must be devoured immediately, preferably by loved ones.
blueberry filled doughnuts
makes 1 dozen doughnuts
5 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted , plus more for dusting
6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 cups whole milk, warm
5-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
canola oil for frying
blueberry filling or your choice of jam
In a medium bowl, combine the water with the yeast and stir until dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar and 1/2 cup of flour and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for 10 minutes to rise.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar, nutmeg and salt. Add the milk, eggs, and butter and mix until well combined.
Add the yeast mixture to the dough and thoroughly combine.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead. If the dough is sticky, add more flour until the dough hardly sticks to your hands. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 7-10 minutes. Put the dough in a large buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, undisturbed.
Punch the dough and then turn onto a floured surface. Knead dough a few times and then roll out until it’s 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into rounds with a 3-1/2-inch cutter. Set on a baking sheet lined with a lightly floured kitchen towel. Cover with another towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
While the doughnuts are rising, fill a large heavy bottomed pot with oil about 2 inches deep. Heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F on a candy thermometer.
Place a round of dough in the hot oil and fry until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the doughnut with a slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels. Repeat until all dough has been fried.
To fill the doughnuts:
Pour the blueberry filling into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip. Using a chopstick, poke a hole 3/4 of the way into each doughnut. Gently rotate the stick to make a well for the filling. Insert the tip of the pastry bag into the hole and fill until the doughnut feels heavy. Place the filled doughnut in a bowl of powdered or granulated sugar and coat evenly. Repeat with the rest of the doughnuts. Serve immediately.
for the blueberry filling:
makes about 3 cups
4 cups blueberries
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Combine the ingredients in a large pot over medium heat. Stir often to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until a thick syrup has formed, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. The mixture will thicken as is cools. Set aside.