Sunday, May 28, 2017

Donut Trials: #2 Italian Cream Filled Donuts

Years ago, stomach problems were not so prevalent. Today you turn on the TV and there is talk of probiotics, colon cleansers, and pills for acid re flux. It makes you wonder what has caused all of this. After, all when people were churning their own butter- stomach issues were almost unheard of. I think that added preservatives and GMO in manufactured food may be the cause.

Anyhow, with over-abundance of food in the grocery store that labeled as "light", I decided to move on to a second type of donut that is very light. These little yeast gems are like soft pillows which make it a perfect host for filling with something sweet. A great reminder as to why filled donuts are such a favorite.

This particular recipe hails from Italy and is referred to as bombolini. However, these donuts are  much like the filled donuts you find here in the US. The bread part of the donut has a basic, clean taste with a hint of citrus. Then it is filled with a rich vanilla pastry cream swimming with vanilla seeds. The recipe makes about 2-2 1/2 dozen donuts.

Italian Cream Filled Donuts
adapted from Grace's Sweet Life 

Ingredients/Pastry Cream
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tbs sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 split and seeded vanilla bean
6 egg yolks

Ingredients/Donut dough
3 eggs
3 1/2 tbs butter (diced into 4 pieces)
8 1/2 oz warm milk ( between 105-115 degrees Fahrenheit) 
zest of 1 whole orange or lemon
seeds from 1 whole vanilla bean
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 package yeast
2 cups bread flour
2 cups regular flour
vegetable spray
canola oil ( for frying)
extra sugar for rolling donuts in

The pastry cream will need to be made first. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and add the seeds and the skin of the vanilla bean. Place over medium high heat and let come to a boil. Remove from burner and cover. Leave to sit, covered, for about 15 minutes so the vanilla beans and seeds can infuse flavor into the milk.

While the milk is cooling, add the sugar and egg yolks to a bowl. Whisk the mixture by hand until the mixture increases in volume and becomes a very pale yellow. Add the flour and mix until blended.

Empty the mixture into a bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, turn the speed to medium. As the mixer runs, slowly pour a steady stream of the warm milk blend into the egg batter. Once blended, pour mixture into a sieve placed over a saucepan and strain. Once the mixture has been strained into the saucepan, place saucepan over medium heat. Let cream mixture cook, stirring constantly. The filling will thicken and become the consistency of pudding. It should take about 3-5 minutes to reach the perfect consistency. Once it is nice and thick, spoon into a heat proof bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.

For the yeast donuts, take out a large bowl and fill with both types of flour, sugar, yeast, vanilla beans, lemon or orange zest and salt and stir together until evenly blended. Form a well in the center of the dry mix and pour in the warm milk. Blend together using a wooden spoon. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and then add to the dough. Mix the eggs into the dough until no dry streaks remain.

Prepare a flat surface by dusting with flour. Also, take out a large bowl and cover the interior with non stick spray. Remove the dough and place on floured surface. Put one cube of butter in the center. Knead the butter into the dough, this should take about 2 minutes. Repeat with each remaining piece of butter. Then knead for an additional 5 minutes.

Shape dough into a ball and put in oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This should take about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. During this time take out a few 9x13 cake pans. Also, cut parchment paper into 32 squares, each about 4-4 1/2 inches square. Spray the squares with non stick spray. Then put two plates beside the area that you will be frying in. One plate will have paper towels on it for draining and one will have sugar for rolling the hot donuts in.

After the first rise, remove the dough from the bowl and place on the floured surface. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin so it is about 3/8 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter about 2 3/4 to 3 inches in diameter, cut out dough into circles and place each on prepared parchment squares. Take the square and put it inside the cake pan, leaving some space between each. Continue this process until all the dough has been cut into circles and the pans are full. Cover cake pans with plastic and let dough rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Heat up oil in a fryer or deep saucepan to 330 degrees. It should reach proper temperature in about 20-30 minutes.

After the dough rounds have doubled in size, take a parchment square with the formed donut and flip it to drop in oil. Repeat with 3 more raw donuts. Fry each side until golden brown, the total fry time should be 3-5 minutes with one flip. Watch for the dough to reach the desired golden color and then flip for the other side to cook. Remove donuts and place on paper towel to drain and then roll in sugar and place on cooling rack.

Continue until no raw dough remains. Then prepare a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip and fill the bag with the cold filling from the refrigerator. Punch a hole in top of each donut and fill until it feels heavy and a mound forms on top. Fill the rest of the donuts in the same manner. Serve immediately.

Tips and Notes:
1. It is important that you allow for lots of rising time. The raw donuts should be about 1 inch thick or more and airy before you fry.

2. When adding raw dough to the fryer, your temperature will fluxuate. The fluxuation should be 320 at the lowest point and 340 at the highest point. This will insure that the dough cooks properly in the oil.

3. If you are using an electric fryer, do not use the baskets. You do not want the dough sticking. It is to sink to the bottom on its own and then rise to the top as it cooks.

4. Using a decorator tip for filling was not that easy. The easier way is to use the proper equipment such as an injector or a bismark tip-something with a long neck to go inside the donut.

5. Another easier way to serve these is to pass on filling the donut and use different types of filling to serve the donuts with. Each person can have their own little cups of filling to dip the donut in while eating.

6. Making these by hand may be a slow process, but it is the best method to insure light fluffy donuts. Decline from using a mixer to create the dough.

7. There is a special point of temperature when it comes to filling the donut. You do not want the donut completely cold, for it will not yield to the filling. You do not want it too hot or the pastry cream will melt. Try frying up 1 dozen and then filling. Also, putting your pastry cream in the freezer for a few minutes should help.
                               **LAST YEAR: Strawberry Hazelnut Tart**