Who doesn’t love doughnuts? Warm and sweet, light and fluffy, plain, coated, filled or both. And because today is Fatty Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek in Polish), we have to have doughnuts. It’s our equivalent of British Pancake Day so in this household it means having the best of both worlds. Happy children. Happy adults.
There are many different types of doughnuts and angel wings (or chrust as pictured above) that are prepared and consumed on the day. Some are fancy in appearance like these Vienna Doughnuts, some are more traditional like these that I am sharing with you today. But whatever the appearance, as the tradition dictates, many must be eaten to ensure prosperous year. And who am I to argue with that?
Today is dedicated to doughnuts and having the last feast before the Lent commences. It is a way of using up butter, sugar and fat before fasting in preparation for Easter. And although many may not observe it being driven by their religion, the fact that you have to pre-order doughnuts in the Polish shops for today, means the tradition is very much alive.
The recipe I am sharing with you today is my Mum’s. I have many fond memories of hundreds of these being made by Mum, all placed in vast enamelled bowls where one would be for us and the other two would be shared with our neighbours. Mum always made a batch of the ring doughnuts because they were my Dad’s favourites and inevitably the petite doughnuts from the middle cut outs would make their way to me. So continuing with the tradition, these are now my children’s favourites.
If you have never made doughnuts, I hope you will have a go and try making these. They take a little bit of time but since you can prepare the dough in the morning and leave it to quietly do its thing in the fridge whilst you get on with your day, even on a busy weekday such as Thursday, you can still have them ready by the early evening. There is nothing quite like a home made doughnut, still warm from the fryer. Here is the recipe.
- 600 grams of plain flour
- 70 grams of vanilla sugar
- 10 grams of instant yeast
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 3 small eggs
- 250 ml of warm milk
- 2 tbsp of rum
- 100 grams of melted and cooled butter
- fat for frying – I used 4 blocks of lard
I don’t have a photo of the ingredients but that is because I was pulling these together at 05.30 this morning. Sick children and work commitments had something to do with that.
Because the dough is quite sticky, I recommend using a mixer with a dough hook. If making by hand, be prepared to use additional flour to help you with kneading but do not add too much.
Place the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix them well together. Now add the eggs, milk and rum and start kneading. Once the dough starts coming together, add the melted butted and continue to knead for 15 minutes or so until the dough turns smoother and elastic. It will be sticky so carefully transfer the dough to a floured bowl, sprinkle with more flour, cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size.
If you are planning on making doughnuts in the evening, pop the covered bowl into your fridge and the dough can be left for up to 12 hours before shaping.
Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out onto a floured board. Roll it out to 1.5 cm thick and using a cutter or a glass, cut out rings and place them aside on a lightly floured tray.
Allow the doughnuts to puff up a little – this step is not necessary if your dough has been resting in the fridge. But otherwise allow 20 minutes or so, covered with a towel. The doughnuts should be fluffy but not over-risen.
Heat up your fat to 175°C – I use a wide but deep frying pan which allows the doughnuts to float freely without touching the bottom. Make sure the fat is remaining at the optimum temperature as otherwise the doughnuts will burn on the outside and still be raw inside. Fry in batches making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
Turn over once golden brown and fry on the other side. If your dough is well risen, you will notice the pale ring around your doughnuts as the dough rises further in the hot fat. Drain on a paper towel before transferring on a cooling rack.
The doughnuts can be left plain or filled with a variety of fillings. Traditionally these are filled with rose marmalade but since I hadn’t made any last year, I have used family’s favourite strawberry jam instead. If you are filling your doughnuts, do so whilst still warm and use a piping bag equipped with a long slim nozzle.
Once the doughnuts are cooled, roll them in icing sugar if desired.
Alternatively, use a simple glaze of 4 tablespoons of icing sugar mixed with a tablespoon of warm water. Allow to set before transferring to your saving plate.
These are best eaten fresh on the day, but will be equally delicious the next day. And since it’s not everyday that you are having doughnuts, maybe that sneaky extra one will be okay too. Enjoy x