Designer Doughnuts

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March 7, 2012
One of the hardships of my life as a pastry chef/teacher/writer is that I go to Paris every few years to do ”research”. I want to see what new ideas and flavors I can bring to my audience, and what fabulous dairy desserts I can convert into equally fabulous parve desserts. I go for inspiration. I recently returned from 5 days of eating, museums, eating, shopping, eating, walking and eating. I went to over a dozen general patisseries and then another bunch of kosher ones and saw some truly spectacular desserts. I ate three exceptional kosher dinners. I drank the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted. Merci beaucoup to local Jewish friends,Dorie GreenspanandDavid Lebovitz’sParis Pastry Appwho all pointed me in the right direction. Stay tuned: over the next few months I will be bringing some new dessert concepts and recipes and more stories of Paris pastry to this blog.
The unofficial Paula’s Parisian Pastry report from the trenches: the verrines (little cups with desserts) are over, as are the oversized, homemade, flavored marshmallows I saw on my last trip that haven’t quite gotten as big here. Macarons are everywhere. The most popular dessert is caramelized mille feuilles (napoleons with caramelized pastry, filled with praline and caramel cream), new flavors ofèclairs

and decorated mini choux pastries. Madeleines now come in pecan and raspberry.

The mini tart shape du jour is rectangles with a few triangular-shaped tarts. Some chefs were a tad over ambitious – a layer cake with seven different flavors inside was just showing off, because you can’t fully identify or enjoy any of them.

 

As I tasted each dessert and did my surgical examination to identify the elements inside, it occurred to me that all of them were based on the same classic French techniques I learned in French pastry school in 1995. Every crunchy layer was the meringue I mastered, every cream either a variation of classic pastry cream, butter cream or mousse, every tart crust the same patesucré(sugar crust) I use in my tarts in The Kosher Baker. Yes, the fillings are now flavored with black sesame, jasmine and wasabi, addedto the classic pistachio, raspberry and hazelnut palate that the French adore. And, it is true that the chefs are doing creative decorations with colored cocoa butter, marshmallows and nut powders. Clearly, the French are masters at taking what is old and making it completely new and innovative.
They do that with fashion too. Everywhere I went I saw bright-colored fur (some fake) scarves, which I had not seen before around D.C. They are still scarves, just a bit more couture. Which brings me to doughnuts for Chanukah. For years, everyone has been coming up with new ways to fill plain vanilla doughnuts, but what about the dough? Inspired by my Paris research, I bring to you the Designer Doughnut Collection for Chanukah 2011: pumpkin and chocolate ganache. My lemon doughnuts will be featured on Joy of Kosherlater during the week of Chanukah. Designer doughnuts are what every fashionista will be eating this week.
Pumpkin Doughnuts
Makes 25-30 3-inch doughnuts
¼ ounce active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup parve plain soy milk
4 tablespoons parve margarine
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkinpurée

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 -5 cups all-purpose flour
4-5 cups canola or vegetable oil, for frying
¼ cup confectioner’s sugar for dusting

 

In a large bowl, place the yeast, ¼ cup warm water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and stir. Let sit 10 minutes, until thick.
Add the sugar, soy milk, margarine, eggs, pumpkinpurée, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and 3 cups of the flour and mix either with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer. Add another cup of flour and mix well. Add the next ½ – 1 cup, a ¼ cup at a time, until the dough is smooth and not sticky, scraping down the sides of the bowl before you add more flour. You may not use the entire 5 cups of flour. Stop adding flour as soon as the dough is no longer sticky.
Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place. I use a warming drawer on a low setting, or you can turn your oven on to its lowest setting, place the bowl in the oven and then turn off the oven after 5 minutes.
Punch down the dough and shape back into a ball and let rest for 10 minutes. Take out 2 cookie sheets and sprinkle some flour on them. Sprinkle some flour on your counter and roll the dough out about 1/3 inch thick. Use a 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut circles and place on the prepared cookie sheets. Re-roll any scraps. Place the cookie sheets back in a warm place. Let rise another 45 minutes.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a medium saucepan and use a candy thermometer to see when the oil stays at 360º to 370º F for a few minutes; adjust the flame until the oil stays around that temperature.
Take out a cookie sheet and cover with foil. Place a wire rack on top and set near your stovetop. Add the doughnuts, no more than 5 at time, top side down, into the oil and cook 1 ½ minutes. Turn the doughnuts over and cook another 1 ½ minutes. Place on the wire rack to cool. Repeat for all the doughnuts. Dust with the powdered sugar and serve. Doughnuts are best eaten the day they are made, or warmed in an oven the next day.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Ganache Glazed Doughnuts
Makes 25 3-inch doughnuts
I made these a few times until I got the texture the way I wanted it. They are very addictive and I had trouble following my rule of one serving only.
Dough
1/2 ounce active dry yeast (2 envelopes)
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup parve plain soy milk
4 tablespoons parve margarine
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup parve unsweetened cocoa
2 – 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
4-5 cups canola or vegetable oil, for frying
Ganache
8 ounces parve bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup parve plain soy milk
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon parve margarine
In a large bowl, place the yeast,1/2 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and stir. Let sit 10 minutes, until thick.
Add the remaining sugar, soy milk, margarine, eggs, salt, vanilla, cocoa and 2 cups of the flour and mix either with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer. Add another ¼ cup flour and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add another ¼ cup flour and mix again. If the dough is still sticky, add a little more flour, a little at a time and mix into the dough until the dough is smooth and not sticky. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place. I use a warming drawer on a low setting, or you can turn your oven on to its lowest setting, place the bowl in the oven and then turn off the oven after 5 minutes.
Punch down the dough and shape back into a ball and let rest for 10 minutes. Take out 2 cookie sheets and sprinkle some flour on them.Sprinkle some flour on your counter and roll the dough out about 1/3 inch thick. Use a 2 ½ inch round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut circles and place on the prepared cookie sheets. Re-roll any scraps. Place the cookie sheets back in a warm place. Let rise another 45 minutes.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a medium saucepan and use a candy thermometer to see when the oil stays at between 360 and 370ºF for a few minutes; adjust the flame until the oil stays around that temperature.
Take out a cookie sheet and cover with foil. Place a wire rack on top and set near your stovetop. Add the doughnuts, no more than five at a time, top side down into the oil and cook 1 ½ minutes. Use tongs or chopsticks to turn the doughnut over and cook another 1 ½ minutes. Place on the wire rack to cool. Repeat for all the doughnuts.
Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt in a double boiler or in the microwave. Heat the soy milk until hot, not boiling. Whisk into the chocolate mixture a little at a time and whisk well after each addition. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix and then add the margarine and whisk well. If the chocolate ganache gets hard, heat in the microwave for ten seconds and stir.
To glaze the doughnuts, pick one and dip the smoother side into the ganache, swoosh it back and forth a few times and lift up – you want a generous coating. Eat immediately or store covered at room at room temperature. They can be reheated the next day.