DELTA CREAM DOUGHNUTS (Ezra Pound Cake)
Adapted from Martha Hall Foose’s “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea”
- 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening or lard
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- Optional: pinch of nutmeg or cardamom
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil, for frying
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the milk, shortening, sugar and salt over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and pour it into the bowl of an electric mixer. Let it cool until it’s as warm as a baby bottle.
3. When the mixture has cooled, add 1 cup of flour, and beat well. With the mixer on low, add the softened yeast, the eggs and the nutmeg or cardamom (if using). Add enough of the remaining 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour to form a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Mix well.
4. Grab a bowl large enough to hold the dough, and oil it well. Transfer the dough to the bowl, and flip the dough to grease it all over. Cover and chill for 3 hours over overnight.
5. After the dough has chilled, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface or Silpat®, and pat or roll the dough to a 1/3-inch thickness. Cut it with a floured doughnut cutter or make 3-inch squares with a pizza cutter. (You could also use a biscuit cutter and cut the holes in each doughnut with the large end of a cake decorating tip.)
6. Place the doughnuts on a lightly floured baking pan. Let them rise for at least 30 to 40 minutes, or until very light and more than doubled in size.
7. While the dough is rising, you can make the glaze. Grab a medium bowl, and whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, water and vanilla. Set aside.
8. Using a deep heavy-bottomed pot, a deep-fryer, or an electric skillet, heat at least 2 inches of oil to 365 degrees F. (This is a somewhat slow process, but if you’re using a deep pot, don’t just set the temperature to high and walk away. If the oil gets too hot, it will take a long time to cool and could shatter your thermometer. Start at medium, and gradually increase the heat.)
9. While the oil is warming, line a baking sheet with paper towels, and set a cooling rack on top of the sheet to drain the doughnuts after they come out of the fryer.
10. Using the handle of a wooden spoon or a wooden dowel, gently lift the doughnuts, and place a few at a time into the hot oil. Fry until light brown, turning once. Lift each doughnut out of the oil, and allow it to drain over the pot for a few seconds and then drain on the cooling rack. While the doughnuts are still warm (but cool enough to handle), dip them into the glaze and place them back on the rack to set.
After having such great success with these little beauties I am going to brave some chocolate donuts next...(trumpet sounding in background)