Cherry-Filled Almond Doughnuts
Cherry-filled, sugar-topped, almond delicious. If you love chocolate, or maybe just really like chocolate, or even if you just like chocolate a little bit – heck, if you’ve never tried it but looked at it once – then these doughnuts are for you. Nothing is chocolateless. And that’s the way it should be.
Early mornings, spent chasing the light, camera in hand, and a rumbling stomach calling out. I crouch in a field, hidden by the tall, browning grass as it starves too. We wait. Later, as I click through the shots on my camera, parked in some empty parking lot as the sun finally begins to scrape the ground, my stomach calls out again. What’s even open this early?
I roll down my window. A wave of freshly-baked, just-out-of-the-oven scents hit me. I look around. A lonely doughnut shop amongst a sea of dark strip mall shops calls out. I wander in to see an old lady hitched over a pot. Her red stained hands and a pile of pits nearby on a red-soaked cutting table tell me all I need to know.
“What will you have?” a young assistant asks.
“Whatever she’s making.” I nod to the old lady working away on a cherry filling.
“It may be another hour,” the assistant warns me.
“I’ll wait.” I smile and take a seat, waiting patiently for the perfect cherry-filled doughnuts.
Making Doughnuts at Home: It’s true. Making doughnuts at home is not the easiest of tasks. It doesn’t have to be difficult either though. This is a recipe where patients is key. Don’t rush the dough rising and proofing process. Make sure you give the dough plenty of time to rise fully. Under-proofed doughnuts (doughnuts that haven’t risen fully just before frying) well come out dense and cakey – not the end of the world but not deliciously light and fluffy.
Deep Frying: I suggest using a wide, fairly tall, heavy-bottomed pot for deep frying if you don’t have a deep fryer. And you want to make sure there is plenty of room for the oil to expand and rise in the pot, so only fill your pot half way if even that. Use a medium or low heat to let the oil slowly reach your desired temperature, then dial the heat back to keep the temperature in check. It’s okay to let the temperature rise 10 degrees above the desired cooking temperature as it will drop when you add the ingredients. And instead of chasing the temperature around by increasing the heat, simply wait for a few minutes for the temperature to stabilize after frying your first batch.
- 6 oz. whole milk
- 1 tspn. active yeast
- 2 oz. honey
- 1 egg
- 8-9 oz. bread flour
- 3 oz. almond flour
- ½ tspn. lemon zest
- ½ tspn. orange zest
- 2 oz. unsalted butter, at room temp.
- ¼ tspn. salt
- 2 qt. vegetable oil
- 20 oz. cherry filling (recipe below)
- 1 oz. sugar
- Heat the milk to the scalding point (about 150°F). Set aside to cool to 110°F. Oil or butter the proofing tub or large bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk (105-115°F). Add the honey, egg, 8 ounces bread flour, almond flour flour, lemon zest, orange zest, and butter. Mix the dough until thoroughly combined and a dough just begins to form. Let rest in the bowl, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Add the salt to the dough and knead for 7 to 10 minutes until elastic and slightly sticky. If the dough is excessively wet or sticky, add up to 1 ounce more flour. The dough should be slightly sticky to the the touch though.
- Butter the proofing tub or bowl and place the dough in, letting it rise in a warm place until doubled in volume about 1-2 hours. If your house is an ice box, preheat the oven at 400°F for 1 minutes - no longer. Turn the oven off after a minute - the inside of the oven should now feel just barely warm. Allow the dough to rise in the warm oven.
- Once doubled in volume, punch down the dough and knead it with your hands for a few seconds. Let the dough rest covered for 20 minutes.
- After resting, roll the dough out until it is about ¼" thick. Using a 2" round cookie cutter, cut out 12 dough disks. Let them rise until the volume expands 1.5x, about 30 minutes to 1 hour. In the meantime put the oil in a heavy bottomed pot and heat to 350°F.
- Fry the doughnuts in the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until lightly golden brown. Remove the doughnuts to newspaper or paper towels to absorb the oil. Repeat until all of the doughnuts are fried.
- Let the doughnuts cool until comfortable to handle.
- Place the cherry filling in a piping bag fitted with a long, wide tip. Insert the tip half way into the side of the donut and lightly squeeze, pulling the tip out slowly. Take care not to overfill the doughnut. Dip the doughnuts in the sugar, poured into a bowl or plate, and serve.
- ½ lb cherries, pitted & chopped
- ½ c + 2 tbsp. water
- 5 oz. sugar
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 oz. cornstarch
- Add the cherries, ½ cup water, sugar and lemon juice to a heavy-bottomed pot.
- Heat the pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, cooking until just barely thickened, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low.
- Mix together the remaining 2 tbsp water and cornstarch in a separate bowl until a paste forms.
- Add the paste to the cherry jam and mix in completely, cooking for another 30 seconds until the mixture thickens completely..
- Remove from the heat and let cool
8/21 Edit: An original verso of the Cherry Filling recipe erroneously noted 1 cup water in step one and 1/4 cup water in step 2. The current recipe has been updated and is correct
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