Good donuts are so hard to come by, I have spent years hunting for a good shop in New Hampshire (hence why I started Ollie Cakes a year ago) Since no one seems to sell a decent one in the area, you should just opt to make them at home instead. The problem with most of the donuts I have seen on the internet, their results are not bakery quality. They are not light and airy, do not properly rise, and sometimes may even be over fried. I have been guilty of this in the past! But I've taught myself to do better!
I am determined to make you all better donut makers too, so from time to time, I will share my favorite recipes, that I have perfected at home while recipe testing for Ollie Cakes, as well as tips and tricks.
My number one pep peeve when I see a donut online or in a bakery, is being able to tell the dough did not rise long enough or if it was too heavy when it was dropped in to the oil.
The trick to being able to know that a donut is going to be airy on the inside, is seeing the white ring around the side. The tops and bottom should be golden brown... but the side should have a dough colored ring. This shows you that the dough was light and airy when it was dropped into the hot oil. If the dough is too heavy (either because they didn't rise enough or because the dough was just too heavy to start with) It will drop lower into the oil and will not float on the top correctly. Think of your dough as little boats. They should bob around the top of the oil while they fry. The doughnut should never be submerged in oil!
Two of the ways I ensure my doughnuts always rise perfectly is by being patient, give the dough time to fully rise. Sometimes it can take 30 minutes, other days it takes hours. The second way I ensure a proper rise, is by using a quality trusty yeast. In my kitchen, I ONLY use Red Star Yeast. Their yeast has never let me down. For doughnuts I prefer to use standard active dry yeast, mostly because I buy it in bulk at my local restaurant supply store, and that's what they have in stock, but you can even use Red Star's quick rise or Platinum for quicker rise results.
These Meyer Lemon Cream Donuts are perfectly fried, light and airy, tossed in sugar and filled to the brim with a tart and creamy lemon filling. The perfect weekend treat, or to indulge on after you have finished shoveling out of the latest blizzard! The bright and sunny lemon filling will make you forget about the cold! Also be sure to check out Red Star Yeast's Instagram Page for more delicious recipes and photos!!
Meyer Lemon Cream Donuts
Ingredients for the donuts:
½ cup warm water
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tbs kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup whole milk, room temperature
About 4-5 cups bread flour (or all purpose)
2 qts vegetable oil, for frying
Ingredients for the filling:
1 cup sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup fresh squeezed Meyer lemon juice
1 tbs meyer lemon zest
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup heavy whipping cream
⅛ tsp kosher salt
For the coating:
1 cup granulated sugar
In a small bowl combine yeast, warm water and sugar. Mix and then set aside for about 10 minutes or until it starts to foam.
In the bowl of an electric mixer using the paddle attachment, combine salt, eggs and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the milk, and 1 cup of flour.
Add the yeast mixture to the bowl, mix until combined.
Switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Turn mixer to medium/low and add in more flour ¼ cup at a time.
Continue to add in flour just until the dough is barely sticky. Turn mixer to medium speed and “knead” the dough until it slightly elastic.
Turn the dough out into a large buttered mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it someplace warm to rise until it has doubled in volume.
Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to be about a ½ inch thick and cut into 3 inch circles (you can use a biscuit cutter, or a drinking glass). Place the dough circles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Do not reroll scraps, I usually fry them cut into small strips or chunks for extra snacking, they can also be discarded.
Allow to donuts to rise one more time, until they have at least doubled in size, and appear to fluffy and filled with air.
While the donuts rise, preheat cooking oil to 370 degrees in either an electric fryer, or on a stovetop in a heavy bottomed dutch oven.
Fry each donut until it is golden on the bottom, flip and fry until the other side is golden. Be very careful when transferring the donuts to the oil, if they are handled too much, they will collapse. The finished donuts should be golden on each side, with a white ring around the middle, this shows a perfectly risen donut, and will ensure that it is nice and light in the center.
Place fried donuts onto a paper bag or paper towels to drain any extra grease. Toss donuts in granulated sugar, and place on a cooling wrack to cool to room temperature.
To prepare the filling, create a double boiler by bringing a pot of water to boil and placing a heat proof mixing bowl on top.
Whisk in lemon juice, zest, sugar and eggs. Continue whisking on the double boiler until it starts to thicken slightly. Drop butter into the mixture one tbs at a time.
Once the butter has been added, continue whisking until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat, and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or until it has cooled completely.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk heavy cream and salt together until it forms stiff peaks. Carefully fold in the lemon mixture. Place in the refrigerator for at least another 30 minutes.
Right before serving, cut small holes in the side of each donut, I do this with a paring knife in the shape of an X. Place filling in a piping bag, fitted with a round tip, a longer tip works best.
Fill each donut, and enjoy!
(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation for this post and created the recipe on behalf of Red Star Yeast. However all opinions expressed are 100% my own!)