These doughnuts work a treat in the oven, which is a great alternative if you aren’t a fan of deep-frying. In this recipe, they are brushed with melted butter as they come out of the oven to give their classic sugar coating a little more sticking power.
MAKES 10 115ml (3¾fl oz) milk, lukewarm 25g (1oz) caster sugar 10g (¼oz) fresh yeast or 5g (⅛oz) active dried yeast 275g (10oz) strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting ½ tsp salt 25g (1oz) butter, melted 1 egg, beaten 1 tsp vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING AND TOPPING 3 tbsp lemon curd, or 3 tbsp raspberry jam, or 3 tbsp Nutella 30g (1¼oz) caster sugar 30g (1¼oz) butter, melted
1. Pour the milk into a bowl and stir in the sugar, then add the yeast and leave to stand for 5 minutes until creamy.
2. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Pour the melted butter into the yeast mixture followed by the egg and the vanilla extract, and stir well. Pour on to the flour and mix together using the paddle. Once combined, switch over to the dough hook and knead for 8–10 minutes until the mixture is coming away from the sides of the bowl. (Alternatively, mix the flour and melted butter mixture above using your hand until well incorporated. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough.) The dough is ready when it is smooth and springy when you gently press it with a floured finger.
3. Cover the bowl with cling film (making sure there are no gaps for the air to get in) and put in a warm part of the kitchen for 1–2 hours or until doubled in size. It should be light and airy, and when you press the top of the dough with a floured finger, the dent from your finger should remain, and the dough should start to collapse.
4. Lightly flour the baking sheet. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it by hand for 1 minute to knock all the air out. Divide the dough into 10 pieces. Take one piece and cover the rest with an upturned bowl to prevent a skin forming. Form the dough into a ball by rolling it on the work surface under the palm of your hand. Repeat with the other pieces. Don’t flour the work surface too much, if at all, while you are rolling them or they won’t grip and become smooth.
5. Once rolled, put them, smoother-side up and well spaced apart, on the prepared baking sheet, then flatten them with your hand until they look like burger buns, about 8cm (3¼in) in diameter. Cover with a clean tea towel and put in a warm place for 20–30 minutes until light and slightly risen.
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas mark 4. When you press the dough gently with a floured finger, the dent of your finger should remain; the doughnuts are then ready for baking. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown; they should sound almost hollow when tapped on the base.
7. While the doughnuts are cooking, prepare the filling and topping. Put the lemon curd, jam or Nutella in a small saucepan over a low heat and gently warm through, stirring frequently. Put the sugar in a wide bowl.
8. When the doughnuts are cooked, brush them all over with the melted butter, then toss them in the sugar. Using a skewer, pierce each doughnut from the side into the centre and wiggle it around a little to make the hole larger, then pipe the lemon curd, jam or Nutella into the centre using a piping bag and long tube. Enjoy!