Mardi Gras, or in another words Carnival season, is here. Time to celebrate before the culmination of the festivities on Shrove Tuesday (another excuse to have pancakes, not that we need any excuses) and before Lent commences. And whether you are observing it because of your faith or not, I think we all need a little bit more celebration in our lives. Especially in January when so many resolutions get broken. This year, my resolutions revolve around doing more of the things I like and enjoy.
And so my Polish upbringing prevails and doughnuts must be made. And faworki. And carnival roses. Oh and chrusty. All of these are traditionally made in Poland during the Carnival season. And since I do not have any English names for them, I’d be very intrigued to learn whether you my dear readers have similar pastries in your native cuisines and their names.
These doughnuts are light and fluffy. And so much fun to make. No need to wait for yeast or raising agent to give them the lift. Choux pastry is where the magic comes from. These little beauties are piped onto squares of baking paper into rings and fried. And within seconds of being dipped in the hot oil bath, they puff up and become voluminous wreaths instead. It’s very satisfying watching it happen.
The golden wreaths are simply dressed once cooled. And since the dough does not contain any sugar, the light coating of drizzled icing provides just enough sweetness to make these perfect accompaniment to a cup of good coffee in the afternoon. Or breakfast snack if you can’t wait that long. Here is the recipe.
- 250 ml of water
- 60 grams of unsalted butter
- 150 grams of plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 3 medium eggs
Place the water and the butter in a saucepan and bring it to the boil. Once all of the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and add flour. Place the pan back on the lowest heat and stir the mixture continuously ensuring all of the flour has been incorporated. Keep mixing, a wooden spoon might be your best utensil choice here. You should see the dough turn glossy and pliable and once it starts coming away from the pan, it’s ready. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the dough to cool down. Once at room temperature, beat in the eggs, one by one. Once the dough is smooth and sticky, it’s time for some piping bag action.
Heat up your oil so that it is ready for when you have finished piping. It should be at 175°C when it is ready.
Cut up baking paper into squares, 8 cm by 8 cm. Using a piping bag with a big star tip (the dough is quite stiff), pipe rings of the dough onto each paper square.
When you have finished piping and the oil has reached the temperature, place each ring in the hot oil, paper-side up. Fry until golden brown by which point the paper will come away from the doughnut. Dispose of the paper and turn the ring over to fry on the other side. Once nicely coloured, remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain before transferring onto a cooling rack.
When the doughnuts are cool, you are ready to ice them. I tend to use simple icing of just sugar and water but on this occasion, I have replaced some of the liquid with hazelnut vodka instead. Delicious. Rum would be equally good. Go on, you know you want to…Here are the proportions.
- 150 grams of icing sugar
- 2 tbsp of hazelnut vodka
- 1 tbsp of warm water
Mix all of the ingredients together until smooth icing is achieved. Drizzle over the doughnuts to your heart’s content.
Make your choices…One or two? Enjoy x