Baking Day: Doughnut Edition

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Our latest Baking Day featured an all time favourite. Doughnuts. Really, who doesn’t love a warm and fresh doughnut? Liberally dusted with cinnamon sugar. Crunchy on the outside. Fluffy and light on the inside. Heaven in a bite. Doughnuts take me right back to my childhood, where I would spend all of the money my mom gave me on Fridays for the tuckshop, and just buy doughnuts. Five or six doughnuts. Glazed with icing. Slathered in chocolate. So sweet that I would feel sickly by the end of recess, but I would savour every last sweet morsel, until I couldn’t think of eating another doughnut ever again. Or, at least until next Friday… I feel no shame. Sugar and dough is what makes the world go round, people!

 

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Our little baking group has expanded some more, and we are now 5 girls doing our baking thing! It’s really so much fun, and we all get along great. This time, the hostess was my beau’s sister. We were joined by my sister, and my two future sister-in-laws too! And all the boys came too, watching rugby, and being generally noisy. This recipe was our hostess’ choice, by request of her man. It seems that he too, is in fact, a sucker for a doughnut. That posed a problem in itself, because suddenly we were constantly being watched by one of the boys…Judging us. Questioning every dusting of flour, every proofing of the dough. But no matter, we were undeterred.

 

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This recipe is quite labour-intensive, and takes time. Be prepared for that. Also, get some friends to help. It really saves some time when everyone is pitching in a bit. We used the recipe found here. The dough of the recipe is not a runny one, but rather quite like a bread dough. We used a wide-mouthed mug to cut the doughnuts, and a shotglass to cut out the holes in the middle. We saved the little rounds, and fried them too, to make tiny balls of delight! Here we go then.

 

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Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts
Makes about 36-40

Ingredients:

  • 6 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 6 teaspoons dried yeast
  • Pinch of salt
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk, warmed
  • 200g butter, melted
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Canola oil (or any other flavourless oil, like sunflower), to deep-fry
  • 2 cups caster sugar, extra
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (We used more, but we’re all cinnamon junkies. Start with 4, then taste. Adjust accordingly)

Method:

  1. Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a bowl. Make a well. Mix in milk, butter and egg until dough starts to come together – it may be sticky.

  2. Knead on a well-floured surface until smooth. Place in a greased bowl. Cover. Prove for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
  3. Punch down the dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes or until smooth. Roll out dough until 1cm thick. Rest dough for 2 minutes.

  4. Use an 8cm round cutter to cut out discs. Use a 3.5cm round cutter to cut out centres. Place on a lined tray. Set aside for 15 minutes to rise slightly.

  5. Combine extra sugar and cinnamon on a tray. Heat oil to 180°C. Deep-fry 4-5 doughnuts for 1 minute each side or until puffed and golden. (It’s a good idea to test one of them to make sure they’re done, before frying everything. The dough should be puffy and light on the inside.)

  6. Transfer the doughnuts to the sugar mixture and turn to coat. Repeat, in batches, with remaining doughnuts.

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If you’re doing the little balls too, you should be able to eyeball when they’re ready, but we fried them for about 90 seconds. That’s it! It’s pretty easy to make, and the only thing is to have your oil at exactly 180°C. Don’t be fooled though, just because they’re easy, doesn’t mean they aren’t delectable. They are. And you won’t be able to stop until you have a food-baby. The little balls were done by the time we started frying the doughnuts. Totally addictive. I’ll definitely make this again. I might serve it with some dipping chocolate and crushed nuts on the side as well.

Until our next baking adventure!

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Scrumptious Sunday: Toad in a Hole

Hi kids,

Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. It’s been a hectic couple of weeks. In South Africa we just had the last in a five week stretch with public holidays and long weekends, so we’ve spent quite a few days participating in some form of debauchery. Food, wine and sleep. It was lovely. Yesterday was the last public holiday, the next one being only in June, so everyone is mourning a little bit. Now we go back to full 5 day work weeks. How utterly pedestrian, right?

I wanted to share with you my attempt at the British Classic: Toad in a Hole. This is not the egg in toast version. This is a fluffy, golden batter, called Yorkshire Pudding, enveloping plump, fragrant pork sausages – bangers. I’ve wanted to try this for a very long time, it has always looked like my idea of Sunday comfort food. I’ve never had it, or Yorkshire Pudding on it’s own even, so I had no idea what it was meant to taste like. And the beau couldn’t remember from his gap year in England more than a decade ago. So we were flying blind, but brave nonetheless. I figured it would probably be best to use a British recipe, and I found one that looked do-able on BBC Goodfood. I skipped making the gravy, I was just in it for the carbs and meat. I don’t know if I would call this attempt a success, because I think the Yorkshire Pudding came out wrong. It was beautifully puffy, but the inside was almost like instant pudding’s consistency. We finished it, because we do love bangers, and the batter wasn’t inedible. I’m not sure what the texture should have been, or how I went wrong. I poured over the comments and googled until my vision got blurry – but I’m still at a loss. So, if you have any suggestions, that would be really helpful! So here we go!

Toad in a Hole

Ingredients:

  • 100g plain flour
  • ½ tsp English mustard powder
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml milk
  • 3 thyme sprigs, leaves only
  • 8 plain pork sausages
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil

Method:

  • Make the batter: Heat oven to 220C. Tip flour into the large mixing bowl and stir in the mustard powder with a good pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre, crack in the egg, then pour in a dribble of milk. Stir with a wooden spoon, gradually incorporating some of the flour, until you have a smooth batter in the well. Now add a bit more milk and continue stirring until all the milk and flour has been mixed together.
  • The batter is ready: You should now have a smooth, lump-free batter that is the consistency of double cream. Tip it back into the jug you measured your milk in, for easier pouring later on, then stir in the thyme. Use scissors to snip the links between your sausages, then drop them into a 20 x 30cm roasting tin. Add 1 tbsp of the oil, tossing the sausages in it to thoroughly coat the base of the tin, then roast in the oven for 15 mins.
  • Cook the batter: Take the hot tray from the oven, then quickly pour in the batter – it should sizzle and bubble a little when it first hits the hot fat. Put it back into the oven, then bake for 40 mins until the batter is cooked through, well risen and crisp. If you poke the tip of a knife into the batter in the middle of the tray it should be set, not sticky or runny.

The only thing I changed from the original recipe, is that I added onion slices into the baking dish with the sausages. It looked gorgeous, and I was really excited. I expected the batter cook into a doughy, bread-y maybe waffle-y consistency. I was disappointed that it hadn’t, but like I said, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be. Win or fail? Dunno, but I might try it again, if I can figure out how it’s meant to be, or with a different recipe. Any tips?

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What recipes have you tried lately? Any help with this Toad in a Hole?

Much Love

Scrumptious Sunday: Quiche Lorraine with a Twist

As you know, I live to please people with my food. It’s how I love. It’s how I apologise. It’s my way of giving comfort, and support. To celebrate and to mourn. I live by the philosophy that good food, in fact, makes everything better. So with that in mind – our latest Scrumptious Sunday! Quiche Lorraine with a Twist. My beau adores quiche, and he hurt his back at the start of the weekend, so the poor man was in pain and had to stay in a vertical position. So to comfort and heal him, I decided to make him a quiche for Scrumptious Sunday. I had to fly solo on this one, but he was very encouraging from the sidelines (the couch). Quiches are funny things. I’ve never been a fan, because most of the time it just tastes like someone put some ingredients into scrambled eggs and filled a tart pan with that. Ugh, no. I just can’t. I don’t deal well with quiche like that, so I’ve always been reluctant to make it. Clearly this was very much a challenge for me because: 1 – I had to do it alone and 2 – It was very scary virgin territory for me.

I paged through my cookbooks (of which you can never ever have too many), and finally settled on Gordon Ramsay’s Leek and Pancetta Quiche Recipe. Except, I would be winging the filling part, just using his recipe for the pastry recipe, but eyeballing the custard quantities. I have to say, I was majorly impressed with myself for that pastry. Gosh, it was so good. And really, not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. So off we go!

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Quiche Lorraine with a Twist

Pastry Ingredients:

  • 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g butter, at room temperature and cubed

Custard and Filling Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tbsp double cream
  • 100g finely grated Cheddar
  • 250g mushrooms (any kind, I jused Button mushrooms)
  • 100g Cooked Ham
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan, for sprinkling

Method:

First make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour, lifting the mixture up and dropping it back into the bowl – you want to keep the mixture light and airy. When it resembles fine breadcrumbs, mix in 2–3 tablespoons of cold water. Bring the pastry together, then knead lightly on a floured work surface to create a smooth, solid ball. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Oil a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin. (I didn’t have one, so I used a normal tart tin)

Flour a work surface and roll out the pastry to a thickness of 3 mm. Use to line the prepared tin, pushing it into the corners and sides with a small ball of leftover pastry. Leave some excess pastry overhanging the edges, then prick the base with a fork. Chill for 10 minutes.

Line the chilled pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with ceramic baking beans or uncooked rice. Blind bake in the preheated oven for 10–15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans, then bake for a further 5–8 minutes until golden. Trim off the excess pastry with a sharp knife, then set the case aside.

Meanwhile fry onions in a pan until they become soft and golden. Add salt & pepper, and minced garlic and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Let the onions cook down until well caramelized. When they are done, empty them into a large mixing bowl. Using the same pan, saute your mushrooms until golden brown, but still quite firm. Add the ham and saute for another 5 minutes or so. Add to the onions.

In a smaller mixing bowl, crack 6 eggs, add cream and three quarters of the cheddar, season well with salt & pepper and whisk together well. Pour the egg mixture into the onion, ham and mushroom mixture and stir until combined.

Pour the mixture into the cooked pastry case, sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and cook in the preheated oven for 15–20 minutes until golden and set.

Remove the quiche and allow to cool slightly before serving.

I was so proud of my quiche, that I was actually doing a little dance! The pastry was perfect, the filling was delicious, the custard had set and best of all: IT DIN’T TASTE EGGY! It was so good that we ate half of the quiche on Sunday, and the other half on Monday. And to quiche I say this: I’m coming to get you! Watch out world, I know how to make pastry now – and I’m not afraid of egg-based tarts any more!

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What’s your opinion on quiche? Any ideas of different quiches to make? I’m excited about our next Scrumptious Sunday already! And I owe you a delicious mustard recipe! (It’s coming!) And I want to try my hand at Bacon Onion Jam. So many things to cook, so many calories to burn! Until then, good eats and much love.