Friday, April 19, 2013

Grapefruit Donuts


I saw this recipe on A Beautiful Mess sometime in March, and I was immediately smitten. Two of my favorite foods combined! But when I read through the comments, I noticed most people considered it a strange combination. Indeed, when I mentioned the possibility of making these over Spring Break to my parents, they were also skeptical. My father explained that he likes to eat donuts with milk, and grapefruit and milk are not a good combination. Good point.

However, I was in Texas and had access to excellent quality grapefruit (though at the tail end of the season), and I had never made donuts before so the challenge of it was appealing. Undeterred by others' hesitation, I headed to the HEB (best grocery store chain in the world) for a large grapefruit and plenty of canola oil.

Here's a link to A Beautiful Mess's original recipe. I followed it to a T, but the recipe below is how I will make these next time. Now, Elsie and Emma's recipe was great, but I think the donuts could use a stronger grapefruit flavor (and more salt). I've also added a couple of other notes.

Grapefruit Donuts

1 c. milk (I used whole)
1/8 c. grapefruit juice
1/4 c. sugar
2 1/4 t. instant dry yeast (that's one package)
2 eggs
1/2 c. + 2 T. butter, melted (E&E did not say salted or not; I used unsalted and felt salt was needed so I recommend using salted. Or adding more salt.)
4 c. flour
1/4 t. salt
2 T. grapefruit zest (increased from one)
Oil for frying (I used a bottle and a half of canola. A bottle might be OK, too.)

Glaze
1/2 c. grapefruit juice
1 T. zest (this is my addition)
2 3/4 c. powdered sugar

Start by warming the milk and grapefruit juice. I did this on the stove and dissolved the sugar in it. The mixture got too hot for the yeast so I had to put it in the fridge to cool it off a bit before adding the yeast. I've killed many a package of yeast by mixing it in liquid too hot. In this case, after a few minutes, the mixture got nice and foamy so I knew everything was OK.

Beat the eggs and mix them with the melted butter so that mixture isn't too hot either. Then combine the yeast mixture and the egg/butter mixture. Add the flour, salt, and zest incrementally. Most people would probably be using a big old Kitchen Aid mixer at this point. I don't own one, and I don't much want one because I like mixing. I do wish I had one when it comes to kneading, which I do not like at all.

If you have an electric mixer like a Kitchen Aid one, put in the dough hook and let it do the hard part for you. Elsie and Emma recommend 8 to 10 minutes of kneading. I worked out my arms with 8 to 10 minutes of old-fashioned kneading, and I think I got the job done. They also recommend adding flour if the mixture seems to liquid-y. I definitely needed to add flour to keep the dough from sticking to the countertop. I think I probably added another half cup all told. 

Put a little oil in a bowl, add the dough, turn it over once to coat, and refrigerate it, covered, overnight. I kind of wonder about this stage. I'm thinking you could just as easily start in the morning and leave your dough in a warm place for a couple or three hours to rise. The refrigerator method makes it rise much slower (overnight), and gives you the advantage of cold dough for the the next step, though. And donuts in the morning, which is an advantage.

Donuts cut out but not yet risen

If you go with the overnight refrigerator rise, get the dough out the next morning and roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Super easy to roll cold dough. Cut out your donuts. I used a large glass and a champagne flute for mine. You'll need to reroll several times to get all your donuts. Place the donuts and holes on a cookie sheet, cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour. I used the heat the oven to 200 degrees, turn it off, and put the donuts in there covered with a dishtowel method. It was effective.

Cut-out donuts with cut-out tools

Towards the end of the hour, pour all that oil in a large pot and start heating it. One of those candy thermometers that hooks on to the side of the pan is very handy here. As I wrote above, I used a bottle and a half of canola oil in a large Dutch oven. The key here is that the donuts float. My oil was not deep enough that the donuts could flip entirely submerged, but that was OK.

Fry, donuts, fry!

This was the stage I was most nervous about since I had never fried donuts before. I googled "how to fry donuts" and found this video to be pretty helpful. I had no cause to be nervous; the process is actually quite easy and quite quick.

A donut cooks in less than a minute. My first ones may have even gotten a bit too brown because I was surprised by how fast they cooked. Give each batch about 30 seconds, and then flip 'em. Give 'em another 15-20 seconds, and take them out and lay them on platters covered with paper towels (to soak up the grease). Done and done.

Fried

You let them cool, and then you glaze them. I thought Elsie and Emma's glaze could use a stronger grapefruit flavor so I suggested a tablespoon of zest in the glaze. I also think it would be pretty to see the zest flakes. To glaze, simply dip one side of the donut in your bowl of glaze and flip it back over onto a wire cooling rack. The glaze drips down the sides in an attractive pattern. I think the glaze recipe made enough for one dip and one drizzle for each donut.

Anyhow, I was pretty impressed with myself and even won my parents over to the idea of grapefruit donuts! Don't be scared by donuts; give it a try!


All done!



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