I am a very cautious person by nature. When my little sister would stand on her head on our couches, I would warn her – you can break your neck like that! I don’t think she ever listened to me. And she never broke her neck doing headstands on the saggy gray couches.
But there are times when I live life on the edge. I detailed one such attempt in my last blog post. As I was drifting to sleep last night, I remembered yet another wild childhood moment. Have you ever taken a look at a dried bean and thought to yourself – maybe, just maybe, this would fit up my nose? I promise you, I am currently an intelligent young woman. But there’s something about those once-underdeveloped frontal lobes that provide so much fodder for these posts.
I will spare you the details. I shall provide nothing but the happy ending – the bean did indeed fit up my nose. And it eventually came out the way it went in, though not without an extended period of silent struggle. I didn’t want mommy to know what I had done. Mom, now you know.
And you know what? My fifth grade teacher once exhorted us never to begin a sentence with the words ‘and’ and ‘but’. I lived by that rule for many, many years. But I’m different now. I have embraced my wild side. I made doughnuts.
I love doughnuts. Or donuts. This is one instance where spelling does not matter. What matters is pillowy, deep-fried goodness. This is the first time I have attempted making them myself. As a rule of thumb, I avoid deep-frying. One deep-fried treat can negate a whole month of kale salads. But sometimes, it’s worth it. Take the plunge. After your dough balls come out from their hot oil bath, are rolled in citrus-scented sugar, and filled to the seams with luxuriously creamy curd, your plans for Brussels sprouts and HIIT cardio will instantaneously vanish.
Live in the moment.*
*Disclaimer: Maybe not all the time. Just when it involves doughnuts.
Meyer Lemon Curd Doughnuts
This is a long, multi-step, potentially multi-day recipe. My favorite kind.
Meyer Lemon Curd
3 Meyer lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
5 large eggs
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
1/8 tsp salt
- Zest the Meyer lemons into the sugar. Using your fingers or a fork, rub the zest into the sugar.
- In another bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer, then beat in the sugar mixture.
- Beat in the eggs one by one, then the lemon juice and salt.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly (if you don’t, your curd will burn), until the curd is thickened. This should take about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before using. I made this curd a day in advance and stored it in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until the next day. The curd can keep in the fridge for a month or two.
Adapted from Joy the Baker.
1 (14 oz) pack of active dry yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
2 tbsp warm water
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
for the Meyer lemon sugar (optional):
1 cup sugar
the zest from 1 Meyer lemon
for the Meyer lemon glaze (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar
splash of milk or water
splash of Meyer lemon juice
the zest from 1 Meyer lemon
- Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and throw in a pinch of sugar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. If the mixture does not bubble, your yeast is dead, start over.
- Your yeast is alive! So now move to your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Mix the yeast mixture, milk, flour, butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract together at low speed until a sticky dough forms.
- Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat for another 3 minutes. The dough will be soft and slightly sticky. Beat in a little more flour if it’s too sticky to handle.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl so that all the dough gathers in the center. Sprinkle some flour over the top of the dough ball to prevent a crust from forming, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1.5-2 hours.
- After your dough has risen to double its original size, lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin and roll out the dough into a 12″ round, about 1/2″ thick.
- Using a 3″ round cutter, cut out as many doughnuts as you can. I managed 10. Don’t re-roll the scraps into more doughnuts, Joy the Baker says it will make for tough doughnuts. I trust her. You should too. I cut the dough scraps up into odd shapes, fried them all, and snacked on them while I fried the doughnuts. Sweet, sweet deal for both the chef and the photographer.
- Place the dough rounds on a lightly floured pan and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let them rise for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, make the Meyer lemon sugar or the glaze. For the sugar, simply zest the Meyer lemon over the sugar and toss the sugar and zest together. For the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar and the liquids until you have a smooth glaze. You can adjust your powdered sugar and liquid amounts to achieve your desired consistency.
- Now, fry your doughnuts! Heat 2 1/2″ of oil in a sturdy pot to 350˚F. I don’t own fancy things like candy thermometers, so I just heated my oil over medium-high heat and used one of my dough scraps as a tester piece. When the oil begins to bubble furiously around your little pioneer, the oil is hot enough for your doughnuts.
- Fry your doughnuts two at a time, about 1 minute per side. I didn’t time, I just waited until one side was golden brown, then flipped it.
- When your doughnuts are golden brown on both sides, roll them in the oil so they’re glistening on each side, then immediately remove with a slotted spoon and toss in sugar. Then remove to a paper towel-lined pan to drain. If you are glazing your doughnuts instead, remove your doughnuts from the pot to a wire rack to allow excess oil to drip off. Then dunk the doughnuts in the glaze (or drizzle glaze over the top) after you have finished frying.
- You can now eat the doughnuts as is. Or you can go one step further (living life on the edge, remember?) and fill them with your Meyer lemon curd. Use the slender end of a spoon to poke a hole in the side of each doughnut. Then, using a pastry bag fitted with a round tip, pipe the curd into the doughnuts. How will you know when your doughnuts are full? You will feel your doughnut expanding in your hand as you pipe, then all of a sudden curd will ooze out all over your hands. Or your doughnut will develop a leak in the bottom. It takes some practice, I guess.
- Serve immediately! Nothing better than fresh doughnuts! If you must, allow them to come to room temperature then store in a container in the refrigerator.
Oh yes, I could.