Homemade Donuts (or: Paczki–the Perfect Snow Day Project)

17 Feb

If you are anything like me, about a week ago you hit the point where winter has you responding to anything–good news, bad news, no news– like this:

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So while all y’all are enjoying a snow day and I’m trekking into the hospital, I’m reminding myself of those random perfect, sunny Tuesdays that I get off in May while everyone else is  chained to a desk doing the bidding of The Man in some soulless, windowless, 9-5 situation. In other news, we live in a beautiful world and winter is wonderful in its own way. Did y’all believe that? Me neither. #ComeOnSpring.

ANYWAY– it’s Fat Tuesday, which means one thing to MrKef, GrandmaKef, and large swaths of the Midwest: PACZKIS! I made this recipe a few years ago and am still amazed at how easy and fun it was to make donuts–the perfect snow day project!

Paczki Fit For a Polish Prince*

Ingredients

  • 2 c whole milk
  • 4 1/2 tsp instant yeast (2 Fleishmann’s envelopes)
  • 1/2 c PLUS 1 TBS sugar
  • 5 c all-purpose flour
  • 4 egg yolks PLUS one whole egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • A whole lot of canola oil, for frying (you will need at least enough to fill a wide, deep pot up to 2 inches)
  • 1 1/2 c berry jelly–try and find one that is smooth and without too many chunks to make filling easier
  • 1 c powdered sugar, for dusting

Assembly 
1. In a small saucepan heat milk to between 110 an 115°F. Pour warmed milk into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Dissolve yeast in milk. Add one Tablespoon sugar and two cups of flour. Mix until consistency of pancake batter then cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to allow yeast to activate. Let rest for 30 minutes or until starter is very bubbly.

2. In a medium bowl combine egg and yolks. Whisk until light and frothy, about 4 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup sugar, salt and vanilla.

3. Slowly stir cooled melted butter into yeast starter until combined. Then slowly incorporate egg mixture until just combined. Fit mixer with dough hook. Stir in flour, working 1/2 a cup in at a time until a soft dough comes together. Note: this dough is very sticky.

4. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and transfer dough to bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until double in size. About an hour.

5. Turn out dough on a very generously floured surface. Dust surface of dough with flour then punch down dough to about half an inch high. Using anything hard and round (I used an empty tomato sauce jar, a wine glass would also work), cut out doughnuts. Carefully transfer doughnut rounds to parchment lined baking sheets. Cover sheets with a clean dish towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

6. Pour canola oil into a large dutch oven to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil to 360°F. Once oil reaches the proper temperature use a heat resistant spatula or shallow strainer to carefully drop doughnuts in, one at a time, cooking a maximum of 3 at once. Cook doughnuts until a warm, deep brown on one side, then using heat resistance tongs turn the doughnut and cook the other side until it reaches the same degree of doneness. Remove from oil letting any excess oil drain off then transfer to a wire rack for cooling. Test your first doughnut to make sure that the insides are completely cooked, if not adjust your cooking time accordingly. Let doughnut cool.

7. Prepare a wide and shallow bowl with powdered sugar. Fill your pastry bag with your favorite preserves and fit the bag with a filling tip. Pipe filling into pączki then dip each side in powdered sugar until covered. (Chef Kefi, RN Editor’s Note: the filling was the messiest part for me–I ended up filling from the top to make this a big easier, but separate one or two paczkis for practice specimen!)

*A story for another time.

One Response to “Homemade Donuts (or: Paczki–the Perfect Snow Day Project)”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Honey Pine Nut Tart | Cooking Up Kefi - March 3, 2015

    […] I’ve mentioned about a billion times before, I just cannot keep doing winter and am doing anything I can to think spring. For lots of people, prepping for spring would mean […]

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