National Chocolate Week? National Dessert Day? International Chocolate Day? National Doughnut Day? Look, we have all been there: if we can find a decent excuse to bite into a freshly made doughnut or into some indulgent chocolate (or both), then we’ll grab it with both hands.
You might need to wait until the weekend to experiment with this recipe as it takes the good part of half a day.
Makes 16 doughnuts
250 gr Strong bread flour plus more for dusting
40 gr milk
12 gr bread yeast
30 gr sugar
40 gr butter
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg yolk
Grated zest of 1 lime or ½ lemon
2 gr salt
Vegetable oil for frying
For the chocolate sauce:
50 gr milk chocolate
20 gr milk
First of all, ensure the area you work in is warm. If necessary, warm the oven and then switch it off. If the outside temperature is too low the dough will not rise enough. Same applies if there is a lot of moisture.
The butter needs to be at room temperature.
Activate the yeast in a little warm water for 10-15 minutes until it froths slightly.
In a bowl, mix the flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, lime zest and the butter. Mix thoroughly for 10 minutes.
Add the milk little by little: if the dough starts becoming too sticky don’t use all the milk. The texture should be smooth and elastic.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let the dough rise for at least 2 hours. If you don’t get a good rise in 2 hours, leave it for another hour.
Divide the dough into 16 balls (about the size of a tennis ball).
Let the dough balls rise on a baking tray covered with a floured cloth. Ensure there is enough space between the dough balls to allow for expansion. Cover with clingfilm and let them rise for another 1.5-2 hours.
Once the dough balls have risen, heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan. Test the temperature by dropping a little piece of dough: if it sizzles then the oil has the right temperature.
Drop not more than 3 dough balls at a time in the boiling hot oil. Cook on one side for 3 minutes, then on the other side. You will see that a lighter-coloured ring will appear in the middle. You don’t want to colour the doughnuts all the way through.
Be careful to cook the doughnuts through: they might still be raw in the middle if you take them out of the oil too soon. If they start getting too much colour but you think they may not be cooked through, take them out, leave them on a plate covered with kitchen paper for 2 minutes, then drop them in the oil again for another minute.
For the chocolate sauce, break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl and add the milk. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water for 5 minutes (or less, depending how quickly the chocolate melts). Take the bowl off the heat and stir the chocolate for 10 minutes to cool it down and allow it to become thicker and glossier.
Make a cut in the centre of the doughnuts and pour a little chocolate sauce on it.
Picture credits: Paola Bassanese