27 October 2010

A toe in the pool and a deep breath


Since my birthday weekend, I've been faced with a bout of culinary ennui more powerful than I could have expected. Dinners have been mindless batches of pasta with tomato sauce from the freezer, big bowls of spicy lentils with rice, or simple salads and sandwiches. Lunches were comprised of leftovers, and my camera languished in the back of the drawer.

After a great meal of roast chicken with sausage-and-apple stuffing and a big deadline at work passing, I think I'm back—and what plans have I for the coming weeks!

I have so many things to show you: I've perfected a cookie recipe; I finally have a book I've craved for years; the cool weather is making me crave my family's lentil-and-kielbasa stew.

This Sunday I woke up to rain, and decided to celebrate by baking my first Daring Bakers' challenge - doughnuts!

a slow rise

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge—myfirst—was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

I've made cake doughnuts dozens of times in my life, but I've never made yeast doughnuts. A flour-coated kitchen and endless bowls of glaze later, we had a feast of fried dough.

wide variety

Doughnuts offer endless variations. In addition to plain, creamy maple and sweet-tart raspberry glazes, I filled some hole-less varieties with sweetened fresh ricotta and lemon. A granny-smith apple, chopped and cooked in butter and brown sugar until tender. The apple fritters were oddly puffy, but delicious.

maple glaze

The cake doughnuts held so much promise—I tried to duplicate the fantastic blueberry-buttermilk doughnuts from Stan's, but my oil temperature was off, and they turned out as slightly gooey bites of almost-perfection.

cake doughnut

Recipes for the adapted recipes will follow—everyone should make homemade doughnuts at least once.


  1. WOW everyone looks lovely and the ricotta one sounds so so good well done on this challenge. Yours Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. way to bust it out for your first challenge! the lemon-ricotta sounds amazing, and apple fritters... man, you out did it... great looking doughnuts! :)

  3. Impressive. One sweetened fresh ricotta and lemon for me, please.

  4. I am sort of a purist when it comes to donuts, but your description of that lemon-ricotta filling has changed my outlook.

  5. Thanks, everyone!

    As soon as I recover from my sugar coma I'll be making another batch, which will come with better pictures and a recipe or two.

    Liana: it's been a while—good to see you back!

  6. Anonymous1/11/10 15:07

    I adore your donuts. (And wish that I had one in hand right this very minute.) I have fond memories of my mother and I making yeast donuts from a Fannie Farmer recipe at midnight before Thanksgiving. The late hour and abundant sugar made us giddy despite our less than stellar results. Nothing beats homemade, even if it doesn't turn out the best.