I have misty-eyed memories of Krispy Kreme first hitting Harrods in London. As I joined the food-hall queue of the hungry and curious, watching the glossy glazed rings of warm dough slide along the conveyor belt, one of the bakers (fryers?) casually reached over, plucked a golden halo from its place in the production line and silently handed it to me, a benevolent smile on his saintly face.
Thing is, I was only queuing up for one doughnut, so, free Krispy in hand, I squeaked my thanks and scampered out the food hall doors before anyone in Harrods could change their mind and charge me a few quid.
Where was I? Oh, I was here, in my tiny London flat, about to hand myself as many ersatz Krispy Kremes as I, my cat and the various smell-absorbent soft furnishings around us can stand.
You guys… We’re going to try to make doughnuts.
So these are proper, fried doughnuts. We may or may not go into my attempt at the baked version, suffice to say that baking cake batter in the shape of a doughnut is not making a doughnut – in fact, trying to pass it off as such might be a criminal offence. (Or is that bank notes… Whatever.)
We’re doing the whole bit here: warm milk, yeast, multiple rises, hot oil and cooking thermometers… and a glaze made using butter. Folks: I will not be trying to sell you icing sugar and water. If we’re gonna be bad, let’s be BAD.
In the best possible way, of course.
The heating of the milk was a bit of a token move in my case, as the yeast I bought is fast-acting and doesn’t need to be woken up with a warm bath like the normal sort. (Is that creepy? Am I being creepy already? I’m so sorry.)
Point is, all I really had to do was bung everything in a bowl and mix.
Mixing, on the other hand… That’s a thing.
A thing where suddenly doughnut-shaped cakes started sounding like not such a bad idea.
My hand mixer does have a set of dough hooks, which are the appropriate tool for this situation (you know it’s bad when I refer to dough as a ‘situation’) but holding the bowl and the mixer still while they do their thing is a situation in and of itself. I finally resorted to mixing by hand with a spoon as soon as I realised what a nightmare it would be to get the dough off of the hooks. This stuff was really, really sticky.
I finally wrangled the leavened monster into a tidy shape for rising.
Then lay on the floor for a bit to contemplate the state of the universe.
After proving, the dough was still so sticky that poking it didn’t so much result in a nice little indent as it did a finger covered in aerated edible glue.
Rolling and cutting were going to be such larks.
I floured and floured and floured my floured work surface, and yet the dough would still find large patches of surface to stick to – particularly after I’d cut out a doughnut shape, meaning the lovely ring of pastry wouldn’t come away from the board without becoming mangled and misshapen.
Viddy, my faithful droogs:
I have recreated the zombie apocalypse in doughnut form and, quite frankly, await my Turner Prize. Thanks.
Anyway. I covered my disgruntled mutants (truth time: the small fat one with the star in the centre was me being experimental – all blame goes to me for that one) for a second prove and was about to do some more floor-based universe contemplation when I realised it was time to get on to the oh-god-my-curtains-are-going-to-STINK part: the heating of the oil.
You’re getting no action shots of the frying ‘nuts, I’m afraid. It was a pretty quick process (but not a pretty one) so by the time I’d got my camera focussed it would be time to turn the dough over in the oil, and I only have so many hands… The doughnuts and their belly buttons (or ‘holes’ if we must) got fried until golden brown, and were set out on a rack to drain over many, many layers of kitchen towel.
While those cooled, I got down to the downright delicious business of the glaze.
Uh huh. I dumped a bunch of sugar on some butter added a splash of vanilla – because we are classy here, people – and melted that right down, ready for dipping.
I may have done some maniacal cackling and a bit of drooling as well. You would too.
This would have easily been the best bit, had the next bit not been the one where my face got involved. It’s a thick glaze, so I didn’t double-dip (but could have…), and after a paddle in the sugary buttery goodness, the doughnuts were ready to fulfil their destiny.
That’s a destiny shot right there.
Destiny would go great with a cup of coffee right about now.
I fully admit to getting lazy and fed up while making these – it happened right around the time it dawned on me that being a baker without a stand mixer is being a baker that has little-to-no business mucking about with dough (i.e. sticky, stretchy mixture that is basically alive because yeast). However, once I embraced the concept of handmade/rustic/other-euphemism-for-loveably-wonky doughnuts, I stopped stressing and actually had fun getting the hang of watching and flipping the frying dough, coating it in rich oozy glaze and, of course, devouring the spoils of my efforts.
It was worth it, is where I was going with that.
I have a whole stack of doughnut recipes to try out, so while I might not revisit this recipe on the blog, I’ll certainly revisit it on my own time since it’s too delicious to walk away from.
Speaking of recipes, if I haven’t totally put you off (have another look at that destiny shot if you’re wavering), here’s my recipe for these guys, should you feel inspired to have a go.
I think you might be inspired to have a go.
It’s possible that, despite my moaning, I’m a wee bit proud of myself for making actual doughnuts (that they taste like heaven is a bonus – and a fabulous one at that) and I assure you that the feeling and the confections are equally sweet.