I know I promised you a treat last week, but the issue with constantly trying new things for the blog is, well…
sometimes they end up an epic fail.
Now, my plan for chai truffles was not so much an epic fail as it was a “meh I will try again” fail, but it still wasn’t worthy of posting here for you all to see.
Instead, I spent much of my Saturday becoming very good friends with a large pot of fry oil. At first, we were a little hesitant of each other.
Me: that’s an awful lot of oil.
Fry pot: that girl looks awfully new at this.
Me: Please don’t burn me or my face.
Fry pot: I wonder if she’d find it funny if I splashed hot oil in her face.
And so on and so forth. We did, however, come to an agreement. Me and my fry pot are now friends, for the sake of doughnuts.
Since, really, how can anyone say no to homemade doughnuts?
Now, these are different from any other doughnut I’ve shared with you on the blog. They are actually yeast-risen doughnuts, aka super-legit-doughnut-shop-doughnuts.
I’ve done plenty of baked doughnuts, and one experiment with frying cake doughnuts, but this was the first time I went through the process of yeast-risen doughnuts.
Friends, it is so worth it.
True, it’s a bit of extra work, but with some strategic planning, you can enjoy these glorious Neapolitan Doughnuts whenever you want!
The trick, I believe, with yeast-risen doughnuts is to prep as much as you can the night before. It makes the actual frying far less intimidating, and you can then just focus on having fun and digging into doughnuts.
The night before I fried these, I prepped the dough and the pastry cream filling as well as measured out the amounts for the ganache frosting. The next morning I focused on the actual frying (which is far less terrifying than you think) and once the doughnuts cooled, filled them with the pastry cream and dipped them in ganache.
This can be a fun weekend project for you and some friends, and well,
you know you’re expected encouraged allowed to eat the ugly doughnuts or the leftover ganache right?
There will inevitably be a few sacrificial doughnuts; one may brown too quickly or, in my case, brown too quickly but still be raw on the inside. It’s totally okay. That’s why the recipe makes enough for 24 doughnuts.
Plenty of wiggle room.
Oh and don’t be intimidated by “pastry cream”. I know I was at first, but a bit of research led me to an incredibly easy to follow recipe from The Incredible Edible Egg. If you don’t have vanilla beans on hand (mine were a gift), feel free to sub in some vanilla extract.
Soft, airy doughnuts stuffed with vanilla bean pastry cream, dunked in rich, velvety chocolate ganache, and finished with a strawberry drizzle…
are you really prepared to say no to these doughnuts?!
I didn’t think so.
I’ll be back on Thursday with more deep-fried deliciousness, so be sure to check back soon!
Neapolitan Doughnuts with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream Filling
Yield: Approximately 24 doughnuts
Soft, airy, Neapolitan doughnuts stuffed with vanilla bean pastry cream, dunked in rich, velvety chocolate ganache, and finished with a strawberry drizzle!
For the doughnuts:
2 (2 1/4 tsp each) packets active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
4 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
For the pastry cream:
3 egg yolks
3 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 scraped vanilla bean pod (the paste)
For the ganache:
10 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
10 oz heavy cream
For the strawberry drizzle:
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp strawberry powdered jello mix
2 to 4 tbsp of heavy cream
For the doughnuts:
In a large bowl, combine warm water and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy. Whisk in 1 cup of the flour until smooth, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap (tightly), cover with a towel, and let sit undisturbed for about 30 minutes (it should look bubbly once time has passed).
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, at least 2 full minutes. Then, beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla and salt.
Whisk this butter mixture into the yeast/flour mixture until fully incorporated. Then, begin beating in (or stirring with a big wooden spoon if you don't have a heavy duty mixer) the remaining 3 1/2 cups of flour. If you are using a stand mixer, use your dough hook and beat on medium speed until the dough wraps around the hook and no longer sticks to the bowl. If stirring by hand, stir vigorously with a large wooden spoon until the dough clings to the spoon and not the bowl.
Cover the bowl in plastic wrap (tightly), cover with a towel, and let sit at room temperature to rise until about tripled in size, approximately 2 hours. Punch the dough down and then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped dough in a large plastic ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 16.
Once you are ready to fry, bring oil to somewhere between 350 and 375 degrees (I tried to keep myself in between these numbers, somewhere around 360) in a large, heavy duty pot. The oil should be at least 2 1/2 inches deep and there should still be another 2 1/2 inches of room from the top of the oil to the top of the pot (so the oil doesn't end up splashing over!).
While the oil is heating, remove the dough from the plastic bag and wrap, divide in half, and roll out to 3/8 inch thickness on a well floured surface. Cut, using a doughnut or biscuit cutter, into rounds. Repeat with the other half portion of dough. The dough may be a bit sticky; in that case sprinkle a bit of flour over the top and work it in with your hands so that the dough is rollable. Let rise for 1 hour.
Fry doughnuts in batches, being sure not to crowd the pot. They should fry for about 60-120 seconds per side, and should be golden brown in color. Take one doughnut out and cut into it to see if it's cooked before removing the others to a wire rack lined with paper towels. Repeat until all doughnuts are fried.
For the pastry cream:
Follow THIS super easy recipe, using the inside of one vanilla bean pod in place of the vanilla extract. Once doughnuts are fried and cooled, add pastry cream to a pastry bag with pastry tip with sharp edges (like an open or closed star) and pierce the side of a doughnut to inject it with some of the pastry cream.
For the ganache:
Add chocolate to a large glass or ceramic bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until steaming (it should NOT come to a boil). Pour hot cream over chocolate, let sit for one minute, then whisk until smooth. Let cool, either on counter or in the fridge, until thick and glossy. Dip one side of fried doughnuts into the ganache, letting the excess drip off back into the bowl before setting right side up to set.
For the strawberry drizzle:
Combine powdered sugar and jello mix in a small bowl. Add cream, 1 tbsp at a time, until a thick frosting comes together. Put frosting into a plastic bag, snip off a small corner, and drizzle over tops of frosted doughnuts.
Top with sprinkles, if desired.
Tip: I made as many components as I could the night before (like the actual dough and the pastry cream) and I pre-measured the components of the ganache and drizzle so that the actual day of frying was a lot easier. :) If you have the time, I strongly suggest it!
Doughnut Recipe Adapted from Joy of Cooking Cookbook
My goodness it feels like I haven’t spoken to you for ages. Thanks again for being so understanding about my need to take a quick hiatus. The teaching, though absolutely wonderful in every way, left me completely drained and uninspired for the blog.
It’s hard to write a blog post when you’ve fallen asleep on the couch at 6:15PM.
But I’m back and fully recharged, and to celebrate I bring you another beautiful breakfast bread that will keep you fully charged all morning long!
Over the past few weeks, I’ve fallen completely head over heels in love with oatmeal breads. That Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bread was a smash hit at my house, and I knew I had to try out more.
With all the bright, fresh produce of summer, I thought it best to try out a version filled with plump, juicy strawberries.
Friends, this Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bread is like on-the-go strawberries and cream oatmeal. Sweet yet hearty and filling, I guarantee it’ll keep you full until lunchtime.
Note: I can’t actually guarantee that. My own stomach is often more like a garbage disposal (or black hole) than most people’s, so I hope this keeps you full all morning.
Just eat the whole thing immediately cut yourself a slightly larger hunk of bread before you head off to work in the morning. It goes splendidly with a warm cup of coffee or tea, or even a cool glass of milk.
Oh and in case I forget to mention this while I’m too busy talking about how tasty it is: THIS BREAD IS SO SIMPLE TO MAKE!
Just whisk a bunch of ingredients together, fold in some strawberries, pour into a pan, and bake. It’s that easy. If you have the time, making a loaf or five on Sunday afternoon means you’ll have breakfast ready for the entire week.
I know I’ll be doing that as soon as the semester starts up in September; working at a university means that “back to school” for students is still “back to school” for me as well. Busy school days deserve simple breakfasts!
MAKE THIS DELICIOUS BREAD AND SAVE YOURSELF THE STRESS!
Ahem. Aren’t you glad I’m back? Didn’t you miss the shouting about baked goods?
I’ll be back on Thursday with a cool and creamy no-bake cheesecake, so be sure to check back first thing Thursday morning!
Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Bread is like on-the-go strawberries and cream oatmeal! Sweet yet hearty & filling, it'll easily keep you full until lunchtime.
1 ¼ cups flour
3/4 cup oats
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 heaping cup strawberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix until everything is well blended.
In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together oil, egg, and buttermilk. Pour this mixture over the flour/oat mixture and stir with a large wooden spoon until just combined (a few streak of flour are ok!).
Fold in chopped strawberries, then pour mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes before carefully removing to finish cooling on a wire rack.
As you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit spazzier than usual on the blog this month. I really thought I could manage two jobs and the blog for a month, but it turns out teaching requires far more of my time than I originally predicted.
The good news (for the blog) is that I am officially done with summer teaching in one more week. With that in mind, I shall return to the blog then, when I can properly wrap my mind around writing up a post and sharing wonderful, homemade treats and meals with you all.
I’m sorry for this tiny (TEENY) hiatus, but I promise you I’ll be back fresh and ready to go in no time!
Thank you for being so patient, and I’ll see you in a week!
Today is the last day I have with my tenth graders. Though I am sad to see them go, I am very excited about the prospects of sleeping properly and getting back to blogging. Well, I do start with a whole new group of eleventh graders so maybe I will continue with the not sleeping for a bit, but that’s an internship all about food, so it always ends up being far less stressful.
How can you be stressed when food is involved?? After all, stressed is simply “desserts” spelled backwards…
(cue crickets chirping)
I know friends, not my best joke by far. Just remember how sleepy I am, and that even in my sleepiness I shared super simple Five Ingredient Homemade Fried Pickles!
You know what makes a stressful day incredibly less stressful? Slightly tangy, slightly sweet, fried pickles. They are, surprisingly enough, incredibly simple to make, and are a fantastic summer snack to munch on during a movie or while hanging outside.
I came up with this recipe after successfully frying the Sweet Pea and Corn Fritters. Once I stopped running away from the hot oil and fried all the fritters, I had a bunch of leftover oil and a container of gourmet sweet and sour pickle chips from the farmers’ market.
I thought to myself, ‘if I can handle being close enough to the oil to drop fritters in, I bet I could manage fried pickles.’
And friends, I WAS RIGHT! Fried pickles take a mere 60-90 seconds to reach golden, crispy perfection, and the resulting flavor is out of this world. Crispy, crunchy exterior gives way to a perfectly intact sweet and sour pickle. Serve them with a bit of sriracha or even a horseradish sauce and you will be happy as a clam.
What does that even mean, by the way? Are clams inherently happy? I mean, I don’t even know if they have feelings. Well, in case they do, I won’t sit here and make fun of their lack of happiness.
Just in case.
If you’ve ever had fried pickles at a restaurant, trust me when I say that these homemade fried pickles are second to none. Also, you get to enjoy them in the comfort of your own home, which in my opinion makes them even more delicious.
I hope you face your fear of frying (if you have it) and try out this recipe for fried pickles! I’ll be back on Tuesday with an oatmeal bread recipe studded with fresh strawberries.
Heat oil in a large heavy-duty or cast iron skillet (it should be about 1 inch deep). While the oil is heating, drain and pat dry the pickle chips. Dump the flour into a medium bowl and dump the breadcrumbs into another bowl. Beat the eggs in a third bowl.
Working with a few pickle chips at a time, dredge the pickle chips first in the flour, being sure to coat evenly on both sides. Then, move the pickle chips to the egg mixture and again, flip to coat thoroughly in egg mixture. Finally, move pickle chips into the breadcrumbs and again flip to coat.
Carefully slide as many pickle chips as you can reasonably fit into the hot oil without crowding them (you will know that it's hot enough when a small pinch of flour sizzles when it hits the surface of the oil). Let them cook for 45 seconds one one side, then carefully flip and cook anohter 45-60 seconds on the other side, or until golden brown. Remove and let drain on a paper towel-lined cooling rack.
You may need more or less flour, eggs, or breadcrumbs, depending on how much sticks to the pickles. Just make sure each coating sticks thoroughly to the pickles, and if you end up using more or less than I suggested, you will be fine. :)
GF = Gluten Free - This recipe is very easily made GF if you simply switch out the flour and breadcrumbs for your favorite GF All Purpose flour blend and GF breadcrumbs!
I hope everyone had a lovely Fourth of July weekend! With everything being so hectic over here, I know I thoroughly enjoyed a weekend of doing, well, nothing.
Sometimes you need a weekend like that. A “staycation” that involves delicious food, some fireworks, and no lesson plans. Don’t get me wrong; teaching has been a total blast. I love my students and they are working on some of the most impressive blogs I’ve ever laid eyes on, but every once in a while you just need some me time.
So after my relaxing weekend, I am back to bring you the first “Fear no Food” post!
Today’s post is all about these delectable Corn and Sweet Pea Fritters. I believe may have blathered on incessantly about mentioned my fear of frying to you all in previous posts, and so I thought it fitting that my first “Fear no Food” experiment should be heavily focused on frying. Now you may be wondering “but Jess, didn’t you deep fry those Orange Creamsicle Doughnuts a few weeks ago?”
Well, yes. Yes I did. But here’s the deal: deep-frying is way less terrifying that pan-frying. I thought it would be the opposite, but unless you are catapulting fritters into a deep pot filled with molten lava oil, it’s a far calmer experience than pan-frying.
In pan-frying, the fritters POP. The oil sizzles and bubbles and does all manner of terrifying leaps and bounds; it’s like a scene out of Macbeth with those witches and the cauldron. In deep-frying, the oil sizzles when you drop in a doughnut, but since it has room to fall beneath the surface of the oil, the chances of you getting hit by little specks of oil are drastically slimmer than pan-frying. Also, in pan-frying, you need to flip those fritters, which means keeping your hands dangerously close to a whole bunch of hot oil in a hot skillet as you flip a hot fritter which will no doubt sputter and burn you as you flip it.
With that said, I will admit that I am slightly less terrified of frying now. It’s actually not so bad, and as long as your oil doesn’t start to smoke (if it does take it off the heat IMMEDIATELY or it will ruin your food and make your home smell awful) you can whip up a batch of these Corn and Sweet Pea Fritters in no time! They are the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and a perfect snack to enjoy all summer long while corn is fresh and in season.
I went with an all-purpose vegetable oil for frying these, which has a relatively high smoke point (good for frying) and virtually no taste of its own. If you aren’t concerned about peanut allergies, peanut oil is another wonderful frying oil. Do not go with something like olive oil though; it has a low smoke point, which means it will degrade at a far lower temperature than vegetable oil, and it has a distinct taste that you may not want competing with the other flavors in your fritter.
Other than the initial intimidating frying, corn fritters are ridiculously simple. Just whisk together all the ingredients, and fry, baby, fry!
Conquering this fear of pan-frying led to another new recipe for Five Ingredient Homemade Fried Pickles, which I will be sharing with you all on Friday, so be sure to check back that morning!
Corn and Sweet Pea Fritters: the perfect combination of sweet and savory forms into a delectable appetizer or snack you can enjoy all summer long!
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups fresh corn
1 cup fresh sweet peas
vegetable oil, for frying
Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet (or other large, durable skillet) over medium high heat. You can tell that the oil is hot enough if you throw a pinch of flour into it and it sizzles. If it starts to smoke in any way, remove from heat immediately.
In one bowl, whisk together egg and milk. In another larger bowl, combine flour,baking powder, and salt. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir until it just comes together. Gently fold in corn and peas.
Once oil is hot enough, gently drop heaping tablespoons of the fritter batter into the pan, leaving a few inches in between each fritter. Press down gently with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to flatten slightly.
Fry until golden brown (approx 45 seconds) then flip once and brown on the other side (approx another 45 seconds). Carefully remove with spatula to drain on a paper towel lined cooling rack.
Repeat with the rest of the fritter batter.
Serve with a drizzle of sriracha for a spicy kick!
Adapted from "The Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookbook"