My 12-year old niece's favorite donut is lemon filled, and months ago we said we were going to make them together (she loves to bake). Well, yesterday presented the perfect opportunity for it! I was staying out at my sister's house for a few days over Christmas while my dad was in town. Fire going in the fireplace. Freshly groomed doggies snuggled in on the couch. And hours before we needed to think about dinner. Let's bake!
I found a recipe online from Blahnik Baker, and it was great. My sister had all the ingredients in her plentiful pantry, plus a Meyer lemon tree in her backyard, so we were all set. The cinnamon in the donut dough is a nice touch!
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (the juice from about 6 small Meyer lemons)
zest of one Meyer lemon
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
3 ½ cups flour
1 cup milk (room temperature)
¼ cup unsalted butter (softened)
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
vegetable oil for frying
granulated sugar or powdered sugar for rolling
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and let it proof (it will get cloudy and foamy). This can take up to 10 minutes.
Using an electric mixer fitted with a hook attachment, mix the flour, milk, butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and yeast mixture on low speed until dough comes together. Knead dough for 3-5 minutes until elastic and smooth.
Transfer dough into a lightly oiled large bowl and sprinkle lightly with flour to prevent a crust from forming. Cover the bowl loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise until double in size, about 2 hours in a draft-free place at room temperature.
In the mean time, mix up your lemon curd in a double boiler. If you don't have one, a tempered glass bowl nestled over a small pot of boiling water works just fine. In the bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, sugar and eggs, then add in the butter pieces. Whisk the mixture continuously over the heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let it cool for about 5 minutes—curd will thicken as it cools. Cover with plastic wrap, letting the plastic wrap rest right on top of the curd. Let cool completely, then chill in the fridge until cold.
Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a half-inch thick. Cut out rounds of dough. We used a normal drinking glass from the cupboard, but you could use a biscuit cutter if you have one. Transfer the donuts to a lightly flour baking sheet, and cover loosely with a kitchen towel. Let donuts rise at room temperature for about 45 minutes, until slightly puffed.
Pour about 2 inches of oil into a heavy pot over medium high heat. When it reaches 350 Fahrenheit, you're ready to start frying your donuts!
You can do about 3 or 4 at a time. Each one only takes one or two minutes so watch them carefully and turn them as soon as you see them start to get golden brown. Remove from oil with tongs or a slotted spoon and transfer to a cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to catch any oil drips. Let donuts cool completely before you fill them with your delicious lemon curd.
Using a butter knife, create a slit in the side of the donut and use a long-tipped pastry bag to fill the center with lemon curd.
My niece decided to glaze half the batch with a sugar glaze made from powdered sugar and water. The other half was dusted with powdered sugar.
There were tangy, sweet, and yum!