Monday, July 29, 2013

Living Social Doughnuts

Remember that cupcake baking class I took through Living Social? Remember how AWESOME it was? Well, I went and did it again this time with doughnuts.

Unlike cupcakes, where I would say I possess some skill, I have absolutely zero experience with doughnuts. I always figured they were outside the realm of possibility for me because they involve frying. I'm such a klutz that me + burning hot oil never really seemed like a great combination. But guess what? It's easier than I expected! Especially when you have someone pre-make the dough and have all your ingredients laid out for you.

Joining me this time at Living Social's 918 F Street kitchen was my Mom, Aunt Kim (who could practically open her own bakery), and my friend Kristin. Running the class was Christine Schaefer, the pastry chef at District Doughnut, which is opening up a storefront in the DC area very soon. As I mentioned, the dough was all prepared for us, so we were tasked with rolling it out, frying the doughnuts, and mixing the glazes and toppings. Of course, decorating the doughnuts was the best part!

We made three types of doughnuts: cinnamon and sugar, original glazed, and Boston cream. The Boston cream were definitely the highlight, after all they are covered with chocolate ganache. We started out by rolling out the dough and cutting the doughnuts with biscuit cutters. There weren't enough small round cutters for everyone, so our doughnuts didn't actually have holes. Turns out the holes help prevent air from filling the middle of the doughnuts and making them flip over while frying, but we didn't have any big problems. We also ended up with way more than a dozen doughnuts each--turns out we had enough dough for about 2 dozen each.

After cutting out the doughnuts from the dough, we put them on trays and they were taken away to rise for a bit. We then had to make the custard to fill the Boston cream doughnuts. I'd never made custard before, but it turns out it's really easy. It's really just boiling milk added to egg yolks. You then then mix it for a while until it thickens and all comes together. After finishing the custard, we made the ganache. Chocolate ganache is also SUPER easy and amazingly delicious. Typically you mix bittersweet chocolate with boiling heavy cream, but we used semi-sweet chocolate to top our doughnuts.

After making the custard, ganache (and the glaze which is just powdered sugar and milk), it was time to fry the doughnuts! The most important thing about the frying is to make sure you keep the oil at the correct temperature. This meant constantly checking it with a thermometer and adjusting the burner controls. You place the doughnuts in the oil and fry for about a minute on each side. They end up golden brown with a crispy outside and white line around the middle (this is the sign of a good fry).

We set the doughnuts aside and let them drip off some oil and cool off and then it was time to decorate them! The cinnamon and sugar were super easy--just roll them in the cinnamon and sugar mix and there you go. Glazed was very much the same, you just roll the fried doughnuts around in the glaze and set them aside to let the glaze harden. The Boston cream were the most fun. First we put holes in the sides of the doughnut and then piped custard into the middle. Then we rolled the tops of the doughnuts into the ganache.

And then all that remained was to indulge in the doughnuts! I probably ate more than I should have--at least one of each and some extras along the way. I mean we had some ganache left over, so we had to find some use for it, right? The use was for it to get into my tummy as soon as possible. And the doughnuts were delicious, if I do say so myself.

Piping the custard into the doughnuts. 

Our finished doughnuts!

Inside the Boston cream doughnut.

Kristin tucks into a still wet glazed doughnut.

We merry band of bakers!

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