Doughnuts are special occasion food, celebration food for carnivals, and high holidays. It is rich, over the top, throw away the rulebook food, something to look forward to having once a year, and yearn and pine for it the rest of the time.
For these doughnuts, it’s best to start a day in advance.
For the starter
- 20g/¾oz dry active yeast (or 40g/1½oz fresh yeast)
- 80ml/2¾fl oz warm milk
- 40g/1½oz sugar
- 2 tbsp plain flour
For the doughnut dough
- 480g/17oz plain flour
- 40g/1½oz sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 free-range eggs
- ½ orange, zest only
- 1 lemon, zest only
- 80g/2¾oz butter, diced
For the orange and curd
- 1 free-range egg, plus 3 free-range egg yolks
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 120ml/4¼fl oz orange juice
- 60ml/2¼fl oz lemon juice
- 1 orange, zest only
- 150g/5½oz caster sugar
- 75g/2½oz butter
- neutral oil, such as vegetable oil, for frying
- 50g/1¾oz dark chocolate, melted, for drizzling (optional)
- icing sugar, for dusting
- To make the starter, mix the ingredients together really well and set them in a warm place to activate the yeast for about 30 minutes.
- To make the doughnut dough, place all the ingredients into a stand mixer bowl with a dough hook, add the starter and knead on a steady medium speed for about 5–6 minutes or until you get a smooth and shiny dough. Leave it in the bowl, cover and prove for 2 hours.
- Turn the machine on again and knead the dough to knock it back, transfer the dough into an oiled bowl and cover. Place in the fridge overnight.
- To make the curd, begin the day before cooking the doughnuts, so they can cool entirely and become firm enough for piping. Mix the whole egg and yolks with the cornflour in a saucepan.
- Bring the orange and lemon juice to the boil with the zest, sugar and butter in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Once it is boiling and all the butter has melted, pour it in one go over the egg mix, whisk well to combine and return to the hob whisking all the time until the mix thickens and first large bubbles appear.
- Pour into a clean bowl through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. Close cover with cling film, so skin doesn’t form and refrigerate until needed.
- To continue making the doughnuts, divide the dough into 15 even pieces, around 60g/2¼oz each. Roll into tight balls. Set each one on a small square of baking paper (this will make it easier to flip into the oil later), leave to prove in a warm place for about 2 hours until they are very soft and almost doubled in size.
- Set a large saucepan on the stove (preferably with a lid, but you can use a plate if needed), fill with 5cm/2in of oil and place over medium heat. Do not leave unattended. Check the oil is hot by popping a tiny amount of dough in, it should fizz a little, but not like crazy (if you have a thermometer or using a purpose-built fryer – set it to 175C).
- Carefully place 4–6 doughnuts in the oil, depending on the size of your pan (you want one single layer without overlapping) with the top side down and carefully peel off the paper square. Cover with the lid, or a plate, and cook for 1 minute, then cook for a further minute without the lid or plate. Gently flip the doughnuts over to cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Remove using a slotted spoon and place onto some kitchen paper. The doughnuts should be golden brown, with a band of white dough around the centre of the doughnut. If the doughnut is darker than golden brown, remove the oil from the heat to let it cool for a few minutes before starting the next batch. If you don’t see the band of white dough around the centre, you need to let the remaining doughnuts prove for a little longer before frying!
- Fill the centres with the orange curd, using a piping bag, or halve them to place in the filling like a doughnut sandwich.
- If using, drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the doughnuts and dust with some icing sugar.