Here's an amusing bit of trivia for my non-British friends out there. Yesterday was "Pancake Day" in the UK. No seriously, I swear pancakes actually have their own holiday here. Sure, it's not one of the biggies like Christmas or Boxing Day, and the government may not actually recognize the importance of this annual festivity by giving everyone the day off work to enjoy some leisurely breakfast time at the local IHOP (sadly we don't have those here anyway...it seems IHOP isn't nearly as international as they would like to believe!) Nonetheless, it's an annual tradition and people here observe it. Why, you ask? Truth be told, I'm a little lost on that too. I'm guessing they just got jealous of all the party beads and debauchery of Mardi Gras going on across the pond and decided to come up with their own fun little tradition to compensate. Then again, I'm kind of shooting in the dark here, this isn't Wikipedia verified.
In any case, in honor of this sugar filled breakfast holiday, I decided to make... *drumroll please* ...doughnuts! Not because this has anything at all to do with the big pancake tradition, but sugar is sugar after all, and since we were indulging I decided it was the perfect excuse to break in a super fun new doughnut recipe I have been dying to try. So there you have it, National
Pancake Doughnut Day has been christened. Fortunately, based on the success of this inaugural batch, I can confidently say there will be many more happy doughnut days in my future!
makes about 20
175ml whole milk
75g caster sugar
10g (2 tbsp) dry active yeast
425g strong white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium eggs
1-2 tsp finely grated orange zest
50g unsalted butter, softened
5-6 tbsp strawberry jam
3 Tbsp of low fat butter or margarine, melted
6 tbsp caster sugar
1. Heat the milk until just below boiling point. Remove from heat and cool until hand-warm.
2. Add 1 tsp of the sugar and the dried active yeast. Whisk then leave in a warm place for 10 minutes until the yeast has formed a thick foam on top of the milk. *Note: if a level foam does not appear across the surface of the milk, the yeast has likely not activated properly and the dough will not rise well.
3. Put the flour, remaining sugar and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
4. Add the eggs, orange zest, butter and yeasty milk and mix by hand or on a low mixing speed until a soft dough forms.
5. Tip the dough out of the bowl and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
6. Shape into a ball and return to a clean bowl. Cover with cling film and let rise in a warm place for 90 minutes. Dough ball should double in size.
7. Tip the dough onto work surface and knead again for 30 seconds, then roll out into a sheet approximately 1.5 cm thick.
8. Using a round cutter 5-6 cm in diameter, stamp out as many circles as dough surface will allow and transfer them onto parchment paper.
9. Cover loosely with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for about 40 minutes until dough circles double in height.
10. Heat oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4 and bake for about 10-12 mins until golden brown.
11. Remove from oven and and brush doughnuts all over with melted low fat butter and toss in the sugar until coated. Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
12. Spoon the jelly into a piping bag and use a small icing nozzle just large enough for the jelly to squeeze through. Using a wooden skewer, make a small hole in the side of each doughnut. Push the nozzle into each side and squeeze the bag gently until both sides feel full of jelly.
As with any doughnuts, these are best served freshly made.