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Whole Wheat Doughnuts with Berry Filling – Finished as You Choose

July 18, 2009

While in the Grody Kitchen the other day, my eyes fell on an unfamiliar cookbook.  Not unfamiliar as in “WHOA, where did THAT come from?”  It was one my mom gave me for Christmas that I hadn’t used, called New West Cuisine.  Mom lives in the great, expansive, western wilds of Montana, and when she finds a good Montana cookbook, I get a present.  Anyway, a doughnut recipe from Yesterday’s Calf-A in Dell, Montana caught my eye, and stuck in my head for days.

Growing up in Vermont, doughnuts were something special, not overly sweet, at times more like bread, eaten with sugar on snow, or at community craft fairs and suppers.  In high school, my friend Allison had a party where her step-mom made doughnuts from scratch.  I thought the woman was a genius.

In March, we took a family trip to Vermont, just in the nick of time for sugar on snow season.  At first, they were a little surprised at the flavor of the Doughnuts, not the do-nutty sweetness to which they are accustomed.  But as they got the hang of sugar-on-snow, as my Aunt Laurel joined us, and the conversation at the community table became a party, they adapted to the idea of a doughnut as something more, deeper, heartier, than what they were used to.

When I saw the recipe, from Yesterday’s Calf-A in Dell, Montana for doughnuts, I went back to March, and back to the doughnuts of my youth, I couldn’t shake it.  I wondered what those doughnuts might taste like with the heartiness of whole wheat flour.

It’s summer, so I decided, instead of the regular old round doughnut with hole-in-middle, I’d try more of a filled doughnut with a summery raspberry puree.  On first taste, the sourness of the raspberries I used did need a touch more sweet, so I tried a couple of different toppings, dusting half the batch with powdered sugar, and half with a chocolate glaze.

Enough explaining.  Here’s the recipe, adapted from New West Cuisine.

Dissolve 1 Tablespoon of yeast in 1 1/2 cups of warm water.  I like to let this sit for about ten minutes, because the yeast gets a jump start on the reproduction process and the whole mess bubbles a bit.

If you have a food processor, or a mixer, I would reccomend using it, unless you want the workout of kneading a heavyish dough for 5+ minutes.  I don’t.

Add 1 Tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of salt, or less, along with a good couple of squirts of Agave nectar and two cups of flour.  I used Agave nectar in lieu of sugar.  The recipe called for 1/4 cup of sugar, so if you’re using agave nectar instead, you’ll want less than 1/4 cup, as agave nectar packs more sweetness to the punch.  I don’t really know how much I used.  I kind of squirted it in until some amount less than 1/4 cup was in there.   Maybe 2-3 Tablespoons?  Or, you know, you could just use the sugar.

Work about another cup of flour into the dough.  The recipe I am adapting from called for 3-4 cups of flour, but since I was using whole wheat flour, I used less, to account for the denseness.

Either mix the whole thing thoroughly on a low setting of your mixer or food processor, or knead for 5 minutes.

Let the dough rise for an hour and a half.

Go do something else while this happens.  Watch tv, surf the internet, read a book or call your mom and tell her you love her.  Then go back and punch the dough down.

At this point, the recipe I was working with said to let it rise for a half hour, but instead I left it overnight.  It was fine.

Roll the dough out and then let it rise again for 30 – 45 minutes, uncovered.

Heat 3-4 inches of oil in a pan until it reaches 375 degrees.  Although I’m not a big proponent of lots and lots of kitchen gadgets, a candy thermometer is really necessary here.  Hot oil can start a fire in a snap, and oil that isn’t hot enough isn’t going to do you any good at all.  (By the way – NEVER attempt to extinguish an oil fire with water.  Oil and water don’t mix, and will spread the fire further.  Instead, throw a pot lid on it, to rob the fire of oxygen) (Helpful Fire Tip!)

Once the oil hits 375, put the doughnuts in the oil and let them cook until they’re golden brown.  At first, they’ll sink to the bottom of the pot, and as they cook, they’ll rise to the top.  I did them in a small pan, 2 at a time, and it worked just fine.  They need from 1-3 minutes to turn golden brown on both sides.

Drain the doughnuts on a paper towel to get all the excess oil out.  I found that these did not absorb nearly as much oil as I’d expected, maybe from the denseness of the dough.  They puffed up nicely, so I didn’t sweat it.

Puree some raspberries, or blueberries, or blackberries, or whatever you think would be good inside a doughnut, with a little bit of agave nectar to sweeten it up.

Pipe the puree into the doughnut using a pastry bag.  We piped it on both ends, as the tip on the pastry bag only reached about half way into the doughnut.

My Favorite Kitchen Tool, used to fill doughnuts

My Favorite Kitchen Tool, used to fill doughnuts

Once you’ve filled the doughnuts, roll them in powdered sugar, or top with chocolate or other glaze as you wish.  Summery, doughnutty, delicious!

Finished Doughnuts, powdered sugar and chocolate glazed... Take your pick.

Finished Doughnuts, powdered sugar and chocolate glazed... Take your pick.

You can do anything with these.  This was just what I picked.  They got thumbs up across the board in my house.

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