Friday, 29 July 2011

Mmmmmm.... Doughnuts!

I don't know about you, but the problem with me is that I always want to eat dessert not long before bedtime. My favourite 'midnight snack' is my take on French Market Doughnuts, also known as Beignets. In fairness to the excellence of the original Beignet, my version is quite different as my recipe doesn't allow the dough to prove for around an hour as a typical recipe of this nature would call for and I do not roll out the dough and then cut it into pieces for frying. This comes down to impatience. I want my doughnuts and I want them now! As I like to bake these at night, my pictures are quite dark as they are taken in artificial light on dark work tops - so picture quality is compromised somewhat...!


Mmm...!


Ingredients
Mix:
1 cup of milk, scalded
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 heaped tablespoons of ground nutmeg
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups of Juvela Gluten Free White Mix

Mix seperately:
1 packet of active gluten free dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 teaspoon caster sugar

Garnish:
A bowl of powdered sugar

See my Cups For Cooking page for conversions.


Method
- Get a big heavy bottomed pot and pour in enough vegetable oil until it reaches half way up the pot and leave aside. If you have your own deep fat fryer, have that cleaned and ready with fresh oil.

- Scald the milk in a separate pot. Pour the scalded milk into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool - this is so that when you add the egg, it doesn't cook.

- Mix the dry yeast, warm water and sugar in a small bowl and leave aside for around 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.

- Taking the large mixing bowl that has the cooled scalded milk (can be warm to room temperature), add the salt, oil, sugar, nutmeg, egg and the yeast mix (which should have expanded and appear foamy by now), and mix until combined. 



- Add your flour gradually, one cup at a time while mixing until all 3 1/2 cups have been added and combined. I  use a Kitchenaid with a dough hook attachment to make my doughnuts.

- Now make sure the dough is not too wet. It should have the consistency of play-doh (ie. no longer sticky). If it's still too wet to work with, add the remainder 1/2 cup of flour and that should sort out the consistency.




- Put the pot that has the oil in it on the hob and heat up the oil on a medium-high heat.

- Divide the dough in the mixing bowl into small pieces around half the size of a golf ball. Don't make them too big or they won't cook through. Can make between 50 - 60 doughnuts.




- Test the oil in the pot by dropping a small piece of dough into it. If the dough starts immediately to rise to the surface and bubble, your oil is ready. If it sinks to the bottom of the pot, you still have to wait. Make sure your oil never smokes, if you start seeing smoke from your oil, it's too hot and is at risk of burning, remove it from the heat immediately and allow it to cool down.

- Once up to heat, place around ten pieces of your mix into the oil and let them cook until they start to turn golden brown on one side. Turn the heat of your oil down to medium once you start frying. 




- When your doughnuts have browned on one side, using a large metal slotted spoon turn them over to the other side and allow to brown.

- Once fully browned, using your slotted spoon, place them gently on a kitchen towel lined plate. 




- Then roll them in a bowl of powdered sugar until fully coated and leave them aside on a piece of  kitchen towel. 

- Do the last 4 steps until all the dough has been used. 




- Place the doughnuts in a large enough bowl that can hold them all, make sure it's lined with kitchen towels and enjoy!

They are best eaten immediately, but can keep for another day, they just won't taste as fresh and who can wait a day!? :)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Summer In A Bowl

I was on the phone to my mom the other day when she told me she was in the middle of baking blueberry pudding. I could almost smell it over the phone - such are the memories of how good it is. It spurred me to go out and buy some blueberries from the local food market and I rang her the next day to get the recipe.




Yesterday evening was my testing phase - how do I make this incredible recipe gluten free? As the ingredients and methodology are simple enough with the flour being the only thing that needs to be substituted, I decided on using Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour. It turned out to be the ideal choice and I was delighted with the result. So after yesterday evening's success of baking my first ever blueberry pudding - I figured I might as well share the recipe! 

I use the cups measurements for baking so please see me 'Cups For Cooking' tab for conversions.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. I use a convection/conventional oven, so I think you may want to lower the temperature a bit if you are using a fan oven - maybe by 20 degrees C. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven.

Ingredients
1 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons of softened (not melted) butter
1/2 cup of milk
1 large egg
1 cup of Doves Farm Gluten Free White Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of fresh blueberries


Method
- Generously butter a deep (can hold around at least 2 pints) ceramic or metal oven proof bowl.

- In a medium sized bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, milk and egg with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

- Using a rubber spatula, blend the gluten free flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the vanilla.

- Spread half of the blueberries in the bottom of the oven proof bowl.

- Pour the batter over the berries and spread the remaining blueberries evenly over the top of the batter.

- Cover the bowl tightly with foil and place in the centre of a large roasting pan.

- Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is half way up the sides of the bowl (a bain-Marie).

- Depending on the thickness of the bowl you're using, bake it for at least an hour and a half. I used a creuset bowl and it needed to bake for at least two hours before it was baked through.

- You'll know it's cooked when you place a skewer or cake tester in the centre of the pudding and it comes out clean.

Have patience, the pudding is lovely and cakey when cooked through properly, so don't take it out too early or it will only be cooked on the top and not right through to the bottom.

- Serve with sweetened whipped cream (for the recipe see my 'Dark Days , Dark Chocolate' blog post) or vanilla ice cream.



Enjoy!

If you decide to bake this, let me know how it goes! It would be great to hear if there are other gluten free successes with this pud, or if you think something should be added to make the recipe better :)