food D’oh! Hit the sweet spot
DOUGHNUTS are having a sweet moment. They’ve been upsized, downsized, iced, filled with chocolate and topped with ice cream.
So why the hype? Kylie Simpson, executive pastry chef of Doughnut Time, says the craze is perfectly justifiable because doughnuts tick all the boxes in terms of flavour, fragrance and fun.
“A good doughnut should be soft but have texture and body. It’s all about the dough or batter, so if you do not have a good base there is not really any way to dress it up,’’ she says.
Simpson points out that while we are devouring doughnuts, many of us still don’t know much about them.
Doughnuts have either a yeast base or are cake-based. “Yeast doughnuts and cake doughnuts are very different. A cake doughnut will have a tighter internal crumb and seem more dense while a yeast doughnut is more aerated and have the capacity to bounce back when pressed or bitten into. Much the same as the difference between cake and a bread,’’ she adds.
The quality of fat (vegetable oil) makes a big difference too.
“Even though a doughnut is cooked in oil you should never have a film of fat coating your mouth because this affects how you taste. ”
For home cooks, keen to make their own, Simpson suggests giving yourself lots of time. “It is important to use a baker’s flour or a flour with a higher gluten content. This gives your dough strength,” she says.
“Understanding the process of making a yeast dough also means you might need to adjust for different seasons, temperatures and humidity which have big effects on a yeast raised doughnut.”
Simpson, who personally loves good old-fashioned fresh cinnamon cake-based doughnuts, says summer will see a happy marriage between doughnuts and ice cream blossom.
Sweet treats from Doughnut Time, Central Park. Picture: Carly Earl