Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Homemade Fluffy Potato Cream Birthday Doughnuts

When my son announced he wanted doughnuts instead of cake for his birthday, I was almost insulted. I mean, what kind of pastry chef mom would I be if I didn't make my son a fantastically amazing awe inspiring birthday cake that would be the envy of every kid in school?! Then...he said the magic words, "Your doughnuts are a little piece of heaven." Awe crap! Sweet talking dimple cheeked boy! I'm a freaky pushover. So, doughnuts it is. I get a lot of requests for a fluffy creamy doughnut recipe, so I thought I'd share the ol' perfect potato doughnuts of love and joy. Ohm... 7th heaven. Truth be known, I developed this recipe so I didn't have to buy daggum doughnuts at a local doughnut chain called KK...(you do the word association). 
The fact that my son wants to make doughnuts with me for his birthday, is pure heaven to me. I doubt I'll be the center of his universe forever...and I can feel his childhood slipping away every day. Sniff sniff. Dang. I need a Kleenex. I don't even want to think about him growing up. I don't.
I learned something today. I didn't know before, in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Tues the 16th of February is traditionally the day to make "Fastnachts" AKA potato raised doughnuts and eat until you're stuffed. Heather, my science teacher friend who's been to Space Camp, was kind enough to share this article with me. (here ) I had no idea I was joining the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition by doing potato doughnuts today. So, there you go. Somewhere in the "Great Beyond", one of my German ancestors is smiling down on me...and I am most joyfully smiling back. My recipe is slightly different, but still very similar. So...we may be on to something!
Tess' Yeast Raised Potato Doughnuts

•2 1/4 cups lukewarm water
•1 cup mashed potatoes (no salt, milk, or butter added)
•1/3 cup sugar
•1 packet active dry yeast ( 2 1/2 tsp)
•6-1/2 cups flour
•1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

•6-8 cups vegetable oil for frying

Chocolate Birthday Frosting:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4-5 T hot water
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Large 2 gallon bowl, Mixing spoons, measuring cups, Deep (3-4 inch) 12 inch Dutch oven or Heavy skillet for frying, 2 inch biscuit cutter, extra flour for counter top, rolling pin
Combine the water, potatoes, sugar and yeast and allow yeast to start to bubble, about 5 minutes. Add 3-4 cups flour, salt and nutmeg. Stir well. Add remaining flour until dough is soft, but not sticky. Knead 3-5 minutes by hand until smooth. Do not knead as long as you normally would for bread, it will be a nice loose dough. Form into a ball. Place in clean large two gallon bowl. Cover and allow to raise until double in size, about 2 hours. Expel air from dough and transfer to a well floured counter top, like so...
Gently roll out the dough until it is 1/2 inch thick, checking frequently that the dough is not sticking to the counter top.
Firmly press cutter into the dough.
A little secret, in between each cutting, if you lightly dip the cutter in flour, it won't stick.
Place doughnuts on a lightly oiled sheet pan. The traditional way to make these, I've been told, is to do so without a doughnut hole! So there...I'm not breaking tradition. Allow them to raise 40-50 minutes, until very fluffy.
Leave the doughnuts uncovered and allow them to raise while you prepare the whole frying area. We don't do this very often...so it's kind of a big deal. First, make sure you have a pan lined with clean paper towels.

Now, place your oil in the Dutch oven or large heavy deep frying pan (mine is 4 inched deep). This is where you tell the kids to just leave the kitchen or they will die. Okay...that may be pushing it...just tell them it's safer if they don't stay in the kitchen for this part. Heat your oil to 365 degrees. Very gently transfer the doughnuts to the oil one by one. I use slotted metal spatula for this. Brown on one side about 3 minutes...

Very gently turn over. I use a slotted spoon and always turn the doughnut over so if it splashed it would splash away from me. I've been married to a safety specialist too long huh? Cook 2-3 more minutes. By the way, my 12 inch frying pan can fry 12-15 of the two inch doughnuts at a time.
Place the cooked doughnuts on the clean paper towels to cool.

To make the frosting, combine the frosting ingredients in a medium size bowl until smooth.
Smooth and shiny.

Now, mercilessly plunge the head of the doughnut into the mud bog and scream, "die you evil demon..." Or you can just put the doughnut in there like a nice person. You will however have to press it down slightly into the frosting and twist it around in a circle like a Jr. High bully in the boys lavatory giving a swirly. Best to get it out of your system on the doughnuts and not on your cat. Oh for heck sake, I'm kidding. No way I'd waste the frosting on a cat.
Tenderly raise the doughnut out of the frosting, allowing the extra frosting to drizzle from the fluffy chunk of fried heaven in a oozing steady stream of sable goodness.
Place on a tray. Repeat. Oh, if you want sprinkles...and I know you want them...it is best to sprinkle right away. Not 10 seconds, after you frost, but right away. The frosting will get a thin candy shell on it. Oh yes. Like an M&M candy. Face wanted green and blue sugar sprinkles. At first I was a little weirded out by the color choice. However, now I'm thinking they are way too cha-cha for words. Totally retro.
They tasted incredible. They always do.
Happy Birthday Face. Seven years have never been more sweet.
There you go.

Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess


A in NL said...

Pennsylvania Dutch are of German origin rather than Dutch origin (it's a corruption of 'Deutsch'). Of course your origin is irrelevant when it comes to enjoying doughnuts.

Chef Tess said...

Thank you. I'm learning more every day. The horrible truth is I don't know everything. There. I said it. German would make more sense for our family ancestry anyway. Cussing Granny has a heavy background in the ol' German roots.

mlebagley said...

Oh the torture! I can almost SMELLL these little nuggets frying and I WANT ONE! I vote you for mom of the year....I wish my son wanted doughnuts for his birthday as it would give me an excellent reason to make some. And eat them :) Thanks for sharing another brilliant tutorial! happy bday Face!