My Grammy made donuts once a year on Fat Tuesday. I remember them warm out of the fryer. They were dark brown; crunchy on the outside and cakey on the inside. I LOVED them! Over the years, I’ve experimented with all sorts of donuts. I’ve made maple donuts, pumpkin donuts, powdered sugar dusted donuts. Last fall, we enjoyed apple cider donut holes. Just last week, I saw a recipe for Paczki, which are Polish donuts, and it clicked!
These are the donuts my Polish Grammy made years and years ago.
As you can see, they are lightly fried, airy and puffy and filled with a bit of tangy jam on the inside. Once, I made them and bit into the donut, the sugary memories came rushing back. Grammy made these donuts first; then fried the scraps, which we grandkids ate as she kept frying. The jelly-filled ones were reserved for the grownups first, and then us hungry kids if there were leftovers.
It’s terrific when a memory from childhood is kindled from a bit of home cooking. I made these donuts and delivered them to all my friends in the neighborhood. I told them my Grammy’s donut story, and there were double smiles! Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!
Jelly Filled Donuts!
makes about 2 dozen
20 minute prep, 90 minutes to cut and rise, 10 minutes to fill
Serve these hot from the fryer and just cooled enough to fill with jam.
2 cups milk
4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
¾ cup natural cane sugar
5 to 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
4 eggs, plus one more egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted, ½ stick
Vegetable oil for frying
Raspberry preserves for filling
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles form around the edges. Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the warm milk into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast and about ¼ teaspoon of the sugar. Stir once or twice. Let the yeast rest with the milk for about 5 to 10 minutes. After this, the mixture should look bubbly.
Stir in 2 cups of flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until the dough rises, about 30 minutes.
Whisk together the eggs and egg yolk in a bowl until they are pale and frothy. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla extract and salt.
Use a dough hook on your electric mixer to stir together the risen dough and the eggs. Stir in the melted butter. Stir in the 3 more cups of flour, one cup at a time. The dough will come together around the hook. You can add up to a cup more of flour, until the dough comes together. This dough is sticky, so it will be rather loose. Pour the dough into another bowl coated with vegetable oil spray. Spray one side of a piece of plastic wrap and place it, sprayed side down, onto the bowl. Keep the bowl (with the dough in it) in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Sprinkle your work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out the dough to about ½-inch thick. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the donuts. Place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather up the scraps and re-roll the dough until it’s all been used. Cover the donuts with sprayed plastic wrap and place into a warm spot until the doughnuts roughly double in size, about 30 minutes more.
Heat the oil to 350° in an electric fryer, or deep pot about ⅓ up the sides. The oil will expand as it heats and fries, so you don’t want too much oil in the pot. Lower 2 to 3 donuts into the oil, depending on the size of your pot. You want them to swim freely, not drown! The donuts will float on the top of the oil. When they are golden, use a slotted spoon to turn them over in the oil to brown on the other side. This only takes a few minutes. Transfer the donuts to a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
When they are cool enough to handle, use a squeeze bottle or long filling tip with a piping bag to gently squeeze a burst of jelly filling into the center of each donut. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Be inventive! You can fill these donuts with your favorite pastry cream, lemon curd, creamy peanut butter or chocolate hazelnut spread. It’s all yummy!