Get in the ring

Claire Ptak’s dough­nut dough recipes

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - Claire Ptak

Dur­ing my book tour of the US last au­tumn, my as­sis­tant and I joked about an al­ter­nate In­sta­gram uni­verse – would-be posts from less-savoury things be­hind the scenes ...

Post one: I’m fly­ing alone, Lon­don to New York whilst six months’ preg­nant. Got an ex­tremely heavy carry-on suitcase full of chef’s knives, so mak­ing friends with the peo­ple on my aisle! (cock­tail and aero­plane emoji).

Post two: In­ter­views and ap­pear­ances from 6am-11pm to­day! Fainted in the restau­rant this evening and was taken to A&E by the nicest am­bu­lance driver! (am­bu­lance emoji).

Post three: Se­vere de­hy­dra­tion all sorted with two IVs of saline and one of potas­sium! Mag­ne­sium is de­li­cious! (orange emoji).

Jok­ing aside, we dis­cov­ered much in­cred­i­ble bak­ing on the tour. So I am high­light­ing two recipes that use a sin­gle dough. I love a plain dough­nut with choco­late glaze but there is al­ways so much dough left over (I’m not a fan of re-form­ing and re-rolling the scraps be­cause the dough shrinks too much and gets a lit­tle tough). In­spired by the twisted choco­late and cin­na­mon Jewish babka breads we saw all over New York, it’s a great way to use up all the scraps in a loaf where the se­cond rolling would go un­de­tected. Both recipes re­quire a bit of time, but are rich and choco­latey and great fun to make (dough­nut emoji).

Choco­late ganache glazed dough­nuts (on the cover)

You will need a deep-fat fryer or a Dutch oven for this recipe, as well as a 9cm and a 3cm round pas­try cut­ter. This recipe makes enough dough for 6 large dough­nuts with scraps to make the babka, be­low.

Makes 6 For the dough

7g dried yeast (one sa­chet) 50g caster sugar 120ml water, warm from the tap 500g strong white flour 2 tsp fine sea salt 3 large eggs 125g but­ter

For the choco­late ganache glaze

150g dark choco­late (70%) 100g dou­ble cream 50g sour cream or creme fraiche 100ml water 2 tbsp caster sugar 1 tbsp vanilla ex­tract ½ tsp fine sea salt Choco­late sprin­kles and co­coa nibs (op­tional) 1 litre veg­etable oil for fry­ing

1 First, make the dough. Cut the but­ter into 1cm pieces.

2 In the bowl of a stand mixer fit­ted with a dough hook, dis­solve the yeast and sugar in the warm tap water. Add the flour and salt, and mix to form a dough. Add the eggs one by one, and beat for about 10 min­utes. Add pieces of but­ter one by one, un­til fully in­cor­po­rated into the dough (about 10 more min­utes). Cover the bowl loosely with cling­film, and leave to rise un­til dou­bled in size (about 2 hours). Punch the dough down in the mid­dle with a fist to knock out some of the air. Re-cover with cling­film and chill overnight.

3 When ready to make your dough­nuts, use a dough scraper or spat­ula to re­move the chilled dough from the bowl, and turn out on to a lib­er­ally floured sur­face. Sprin­kle the dough with more flour, and roll out into a 1.5cm thick square.

4 Use a 9cm round cut­ter to cut 6 rounds, and then use the 3cm cut­ter to cut holes out of the cen­tre of each round to make a dough­nut. Re­serve the scraps for the babka recipe be­low.

5 Care­fully place the dough­nuts on to floured bak­ing trays, leav­ing plenty of room for them to rise. Leave to rise 45 min­utes be­fore fry­ing.

6 Line a bak­ing sheet with kitchen pa­per and set aside. Also have a wire rack placed over a bak­ing tray lined with pa­per to catch the drips, ready for your glazed dough­nuts.

7 Make your glaze. Take 100g of choco­late and chop into small pieces, then trans­fer to a small bowl. Heat the dou­ble cream in a small saucepan un­til just be­low the boil. You know it is at the right point when it starts to foam and steam. Watch that it doesn’t boil over. Re­move the pan from the heat, and pour over the choco­late. Let sit for 10 min­utes to melt, and then stir un­til smooth – this is the ganache mix­ture.

8 Wash out the saucepan used to heat the cream, and add the re­main­ing 50g

of choco­late, sour cream or creme fraiche, water, caster sugar, vanilla ex­tract and salt. Heat over a medi­um­low flame, whisk­ing pe­ri­od­i­cally un­til all the in­gre­di­ents have melted. Turn up to medium-high, and cook for 5 min­utes more, to thicken the sauce slightly. Re­move from the heat and whisk to­gether with the choco­late ganache mix­ture to form your glaze.

9 Leave in a warm place away from drafts un­til ready to use. If your glaze gets too cold and thick, you can place it over a pot of boil­ing water for a few min­utes to melt it again.

10 Use a clean pas­try brush to dust off as much flour as pos­si­ble from the dough­nuts be­fore fry­ing them.

11 Heat a deep pot of veg­etable oil or your deep fryer to 180C/350F, and care­fully lower the dough­nuts into the hot oil. Fry for 5 min­utes on one side then flip over and fin­ish fry­ing on the other side (roughly 2 more min­utes). Lift the dough­nuts out of the hot oil with a spi­der or slot­ted spoon, and place on the pre­pared bak­ing sheet.

12 While your dough­nuts are still warm, dip them one by one with your hands into your melted choco­late glaze. I like to fully im­merse them on both sides so they are com­pletely cov­ered wiht the glaze.

13 Set the glazed dough­nuts on the pre­pared wire rack. Sprin­kle with co­coa nibs or choco­late sprin­kles, if you like.

Dough­nut babka

Half­way be­tween a chal­lah bread and a cake, the babka is quin­tes­sen­tial New York fare.

Makes 1 loaf

½ the quan­tity of dough­nut dough (see recipe above; or dough scraps from mak­ing dough­nuts)

For the fill­ing

80g hazel­nuts 80g but­ter 100g brown sugar 100g dark choco­late (70%) 30g co­coa pow­der ¼ tsp fine sea salt

For the syrupy soak

80g caster sugar 100g water 2 tbsp honey A pinch of salt 1 tbsp Amaretto

1 But­ter and line a large loaf tin, ap­prox­i­mately 13x25cm.

2 To make the fill­ing, toast the hazel­nuts on a bak­ing sheet for 5-7 min­utes un­til golden. Chop finely and set aside.

3 Mea­sure the but­ter, brown sugar, choco­late and co­coa pow­der into a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat, whisk­ing con­tin­u­ously un­til melted.

4 On a lightly floured sur­face, push the dough­nut scraps to­gether into a ball and re-roll them out into a square roughly 30x30cm. Spread with the choco­late mix­ture, and sprin­kle with chopped hazel­nuts and salt. Roll the dough up into a log, then us­ing a sharp knife, di­vide the log in half length­wise, re­veal­ing the choco­late cen­tre.

5 Care­fully twist the two log halves around each other in a rope-like fash­ion. You might lose some of the fill­ing here, but don’t worry. Care­fully lift the rope of dough into your pre­pared bak­ing tin, tuck­ing the ends un­der­neath.

6 Cover loosely with cling­film, and leave to rise for 2 hours, or un­til dou­bled in bulk. Heat your oven to 180C/160C fan/350F/gas mark 4.

7 Mean­while make the syrup. Boil to­gether all of the in­gre­di­ents, and set aside.

8 Bake the babka for 45-50 min­utes, or un­til a skewer in­serted comes out clean. Re­move from the oven and pour the syrup over the pip­ing hot loaf. It is a lot of syrup, but don’t worry, the babka will take it.

9 Cool com­pletely be­fore re­mov­ing from the tin and serv­ing.

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