You can’t beat a plate of piping hot doughnuts – these are naughty nibbles at their most delicious
For the salted caramel cream:
• 185ml thickened cream
• 225g caster sugar
• 4 eggs
• 2 gold-strength gelatine leaves, soaked and drained
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 165g unsalted butter
For the doughnut dough:
• 250g plain flour
• 100g unsalted butter
• 3 eggs
• 5g dried yeast
• 15g caster sugar, plus extra for rolling
• 50ml full-cream milk
• pinch salt
For the assembly:
• Caramelised popcorn
1 To make the salted caramel cream, place the cream in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
2 Place a larger saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute until hot. Gradually add the sugar to the pan in three stages. Stir with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula to dissolve the sugar, and cook each addition until it is a deep amber colour before you add the next batch.
3 Once all the sugar is in and you have a golden caramel, add half the hot cream. BE CAREFUL! This mixture will expand furiously and the steam is extremely hot. Whisk the mixture and gradually add the remaining cream until everything is combined.
4 Once the mixture has settled, whisk the eggs in a bowl by hand. Pour over one-third of the cream mixture and continue to mix well.
5 Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and again stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture until it reaches a temperature of 82°C. Use a sugar or digital thermometer for accuracy. Remove the pan from the heat.
6 Whisk the gelatine into the pan, along with the salt and butter, until you have a smooth cream. Pour the cream into a container and cool for a minimum of 4 hours before using.
7 For the doughnut dough, place the flour, butter, eggs, dried yeast, sugar and milk in a freestanding electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the ingredients well for 8 minutes on low–medium speed. Add the salt and continue to mix for another 5 minutes.
8 Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave the dough to prove in a warm place for up to an hour or until doubled in size.
9 Knock the dough back with floured hands then remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to a liberally floured work surface.
10 Divide the dough into 10 equal-sized pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place each ball onto greased squares of baking paper cut to approximately 8 x 8 cm.
11 Arrange the balls close together on the work surface and lightly spray the dough with canola oil. Rest plastic wrap on top of the doughnuts to prevent them getting a skin.
12 Prove the doughnuts for a further 30–45 minutes or until they have expanded in size.
Half-fill a large saucepan with sunflower oil and heat to a temperature of 165°C, using a thermometer to accurately check the temperature.
13 Cook a couple of doughnuts at a time by gently picking them up using two opposite corners of the baking paper and dropping the whole thing carefully into the oil. The paper will lift itself away from the doughnut.
14 You can now use tongs to retrieve the paper and discard. Cook the doughnuts for around 4 minutes on each side using a slotted metal spoon to flip them in the oil.
15 Once cooked, lift the doughnuts from the oil with the slotted spoon and place them on paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
16 Roll the hot doughnuts in a tray of caster sugar to coat.
17 To assemble, once the doughnuts have cooled sufficiently, use a sharp paring knife to cut a cavity into one end of each doughnut. Push through into the centre of the doughnut and reverse the knife to use the handle to widen the cavity inside the doughnut.
18 Fill the doughnut with as much salted caramel cream as you can and serve with caramelised popcorn.
Recipe courtesy of Darren Purchese, extracted from Lamingtons & Lemon Tart