This week’s post is pretty time appropriate folks. Why? Well, let me humbly brag for a quick second….I just successfully completed my second half marathon! And, I say “successfully”, because I had two goals in training for and competing in this event: show up and cross the finish line in any form possible (running, walking, crawling, rolling, being pushed/dragged, etc.). Today, both of those things happened! And in 1:45:35, no less!
Now, if any of you remember my first half marathon, you’ll remember that the training process was arduous. After running (…sorry) into obstacles such as a broken pelvis and a freak April ice storm, I began to joke that a donut would have to be the literal carrot dangling in front of me at the finish line in order to get through this thing. Well, I guess I dropped the hint loudly enough, because low and behold, a dozen of the fried goodies were waiting for me at the end. Long story short, my first website and phase of blogging from the former site “Will Race For Donuts” began.
Anyway, because today is a momentous day, I figured the recipe of the week had to follow suit: Chocolate Covered Strawberry Donuts. A fluffy, fried, yeast-risen shell, filled with a swirly combination of custard and strawberry preserves, topped with a Nutella glaze. Dear. Lord. Yes. Let the (post race) carb loading begin! …Can we make that a thing?
We’ll start with the pastry cream. We’ve made this together enough times for you to know just how easy it really is. Essentially, you’ll be heating up cream in a pan while mixing eggs, sugar, flour and salt together in a separate bowl.
Once the cream is heated, you’ll temper the eggs and put it all together until it’s thickened up. Add the vanilla in there and you’re done! Throw that plastic wrapped puppy in the fridge to cool completely before you eat it all by the spoonful like I (almost) did.
While the custardy, creamy goodness is chilling out in the refrigerator, we’ll move on to the dough. This is a standard yeast dough. First, you’ll combine your yeast with warm water to activate it. It should (hopefully) bubble up a bit within a few minutes.
Then in a stand mixer, you’ll combine the flour, sugar, eggs, salt, zest and yeast mixture and mix to combine. Pop that dough hook on there and mix until the mixture is elastic-y. At this point, you’ll start adding in the butter, a chunk at a time. Once that’s all in there, continue to have your machine knead the dough for about 5-6 minutes.
By the end, you should be able to poke the dough and have it kind of bounce back at you. Put the ball in a greased bowl and let it sit in a room temperature place, for about an hour, to rise. I swear, no matter how many times I do this, I am always the most nervous during this time. “What if I have pancake donuts?! What if the dough never rises higher than my anxiety levels right now?!”, are normally questions running through my head. Nevertheless, it always works out. See?
Once that painful hour has passed, punch down the dough, remove it and roll it out into a rectangle until the layer is about 1/2 inch thick. Cover it, and let it rest for about 15 minutes. After, use a 2 1/2 inch round cutter to cut out your donuts.
Let the cut donuts rest for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up about 2 inches worth of oil in a high sided pan. When it’s done heating, the temperature should come out to 340 degrees. At this point, two or three donuts can be fried at a time, one minute on each side.
While you’re letting your fried donuts drain and cool on a paper towel lined surface, you can swirl your strawberry custard and scoop it into a pastry bag.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Time to make the donuts. Using a skewer, poke a hole into the side of your cooled donut and wiggle it around to create some space. Then pipe custard into the hole until the donut expands and shows it’s full. Personally, I like to use a scale to show that the donut has about doubled in weight…but hey, that’s the numbers girl in me.
Now, don’t forget what could arguably be considered the best part…the Nutella glaze! Mix all of those ingredients up, and dip them donuts!
There you have it…the reason I run and race. Donuts. (And all that other fitness, peace and relaxation crap.)
After experiencing this whirlwind of a weekend, I have a suggestion that I feel pretty passionately about. Today, you should do one or more of the following things: run a mile, eat a donut, run a mile to the nearest donut shop, run a mile while eating a donut… whatever. Either way, get some ironic balance in your life and live a little.
Stay tuned and stay hungry,
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- zest of half a lemon
- 4 ½ tablespoons butter, softened, cut into pieces
- oil for frying
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ cup strawberry preserves**
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 ½ tablespoons Nutella
- 4-6 teaspoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Optional: crushed freeze dried strawberries to top with
- In a saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat until steam begins to rise from it.
- While heating the cream, combine the flour, sugar, salt and eggs in a separate bowl. Mix well. This will form a thick paste.
- Once cream is heated, slowly drizzle 1 cup of it into the egg mixture, mixing constantly. Then, add the rest of the cream into the eggs.
- After all the cream has been added, pour the whole mixture back into the pan over medium heat.
- Whisk until it thickens into a pudding-like consistency.
- Remove from heat, and add vanilla.
- Strain into a bowl, and cover using cling wrap. The cling wrap should be directly touching the cream. Refrigerate until cool.
- Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl and mix until yeast has dissolved. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, until it has become foamy.
- In a stand mixer bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, eggs, zest, and yeast mixture. Mix on low using the dough hook until the dough is well combined and elastic.
- Continue mixing, adding one piece of butter at a time until it is fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides as necessary.
- Continue to knead for about 5-6 minutes.
- Grease an empty bowl with cooking spray. Place the kneaded dough in here and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit in a warm area for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, punch it down and put it on a floured surface. Lightly roll it out until it is in a rectangle that is about ½ inch thick. Cover and let it sit for 15 minutes to rest. Use a 2 ½ inch round cutter to cut out 9 donuts.
- Place these on a lined cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise again, about 30 minutes.
- When the donuts are ready to fry, fill a high-sided pan with 2 inches of oil. Heat over medium heat until it reaches 340 degrees.
- Fry donuts, 3 at a time, for 1 minute on each side, or until they reach a golden brown.
- Drain the donuts on paper towels and allow them to cool completely.
- When almost cooled, use a skewer or thin knife to poke a hole in the side of each donut.
- Combine 4 teaspoons of milk with the other ingredients. Adjust consistency to your liking by adding more milk if necessary.
- Remove pastry cream from refrigerator and swirl in preserves.
- Put mixture into a piping bag with a small tip.
- Place tip into the donut and apply pressure until you feel the weight of the donut increase.
- After filling all of the donuts, dip the tops of each into the Nutella glaze.**
- *You might consider thinning this out with milk if the jam is too thick and will not swirl. Add a tablespoon at a time.
- **For added texture, you can sprinkle crushed freeze dried strawberries on top, over the glaze.