Sunday, February 03, 2008

Time to Make the Doughnuts with Tartlette and Peabody!

A few weeks ago two of my favourite blogging sisters announced an one off blog event, Time to Make the Doughnuts.

For me, participating in this blog event was like offering a big ole jug of Wild Irsh Rose Wine to a guy on Skid Row.

You see, there are two foods that no matter how hard I try to have self control and will power with, I just have none: potato chips and doughnuts. I don't keep potato chips in the house and I don't walk down the snack aisle at the grocery store for fear that bag of Lays will launch itself off the shelf and do a double back flip with a twist right into my cart. I also avoid doughnut shops whenever possible. Just the smell of doughnuts being made is enough to make my mouth start to water and for me to start dreaming of a Boston Cream or a Crueller. Boston was just a cruel town, Dunkin' Donuts on every corner and don't get me started about all the mom and pop doughnut shops. Unfortunately, NYC isn't much better.

But, back to the challenge at hand. Helen and Peabody asked everyone to make doughnuts and post about them before February 12. It didn't matter what type of doughnut as long as long as they were sweet and something we made especially for this event. Hmm.... OK, if you are going to force me to make doughnuts I guess I can. Besides, I now also had the perfect excuse to use The Donut Book that Ivonne sent me!!

When trying to figure out what doughnut to make for this event I was torn. Since Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday are so early this year, the dates for this event fall nicely for me to make Paczki (pronounced PONCH-key), the Polish doughnut of Fat Tuesday (or Fat Thursday depending on where you celebrate). On the other hand, we are asked to make a doughnut specifically for this event and since I make paczki every year, do they still count? Then there are the powdered sugar doughnut holes that I adore. And let us not forget honey glazed like from my beloved Ohlin's Bakery in Belmont, MA. And then there are chocolate glazed. OH chocolate glazed...with sprinkles!!

In the end I decided to make five types of doughnuts: Paczki, honey and chocolate glazed, powdered sugar doughnut holes and a doughnut from "The Donut Book" that when I read the name, as a disgraced ex-catholic school girl I just had to make, Nun's Fart.

Yup, you read that right Nun's fart. According to the story in "The Donut Book", this doughnut is from the common French word for the beignet, "pet de nonne". The doughnut got translated to Nun's Fart in English because the Old English word "fartes" meant balls of light pastry or puffs. According to one legend I found, in the abbey of Martmoutier, a young novice named Agnes was helping to prepare the feast for St. Martin Day and was startled while playing with a ball of dough. The ball of dough dropped into a vat of hot oil causing a loud noise. The other nuns thought that Agnes had farted but when they came over to admonish her they saw that the dough had puffed up in a little fried bit of heaven.

Those Nun's Fart doughnuts were really fantastic tasting! In fact, they were my favourite from this whole batch of doughnuts! It was hard not to pop every single one of them into my mouth. But, rational thinking got the better of me (and my hips and thighs thank Rational Thinking). So, I ended up taking most of the doughnuts over to the neighbors.

I also have to say that making doughnuts by hand was fun but not something I'm going to do a lot because the dough for the honey and chocolate glazed doughnuts broke my cutter.

Which probably is a good thing....

Pet De Nonne (Nun's Fart Doughnuts)
(note: this recipe I found on the internet because it didn't involve double frying the doughnut the way the recipe in "The Donut Book" did)

1 cup milk (110 degrees)
1 cup sifted flour
2 pkgs active yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp warm water
Dissolve the yeast in warm water and add sugar. Add the proofed yeast mixture to the milk and flour, cover, and let rise until double.

5 eggs
1 cup confectioner sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter, softened
1 tsp rum extract
1 tsp orange water
1 Tbsp salt
6 cups sifted flour

Beat eggs and sugar together. Combine with the sponge and mix well. Add vanilla, rum extract and orange water and mix to combined. Add butter and salt and mix well. Gradually add flour and knead until the mixture is firm and doesn't stick to your hand. Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise until double.

Flour a surface lightly, divide dough into three sections, covering two of the sections. Using a bench scraper or edge of metal spatula, divide dough into 18 small chunks. Roll into balls and set on parchment paper lined baking pan. Repeat with other sections of dough.

Cover loosely and let rise until double.

Frying and Glazing:

1 cup Confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp milk

Combine all the ingredients, stirring until the confectioners sugar is completely dissolved and mixture is runny. Add more milk or sugar as necessary.

Prepare a pan with 4" of oil and heat the oil to 350 degrees. Drop two or three risen dough balls into the hot oil, rolling them until they are golden brown about 30 seconds. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined pan.

When all the dough balls are fried, place on a cooling rack over a jelly roll pan and glaze.

Makes 54 doughnuts