Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Strawberry Bullseye Donuts

Fresh strawberries for strawberry-filled doughnuts
Fresh strawberries for homemade jam filling
Here in California, we can get really good strawberries starting around April. If they are picked too early, they can be white inside and taste like pretty much nothing. But if you're lucky enough to live close to a strawberry farm and you have a wrinkly strawberry guy who drives stacks of freshly-picked flats to your farmer's market, then you can have the euphoric feeling of eating tender, plump, ripened all the way through, red ruby jewels from heaven!

Fresh strawberries from the farmer's market
Gwen before the onslaught of strawberry smear face
This is what strawberries tasted like when I was a kid running through the sprinkler in the backyard on a hot summer day. It's the taste of youth, of uncomplicated happiness, of sun-manufactured candy.

I'll say it: it puts me in the mood to sit in a lawn chair on the porch, eat barbecue and fresh strawberry pie, drink a sweating iced tea and say "I love 'Merica!"

So as the temperature reached the mid-80's last week in the Bay Area, I turned on the sprinkler for my daughter Gwen and let her run through it, naked. I poured myself an iced tea, sat in the shade of the porch and promptly got a hankering for strawberry pie. Then a sun-stroke of brilliance hit me: I'd make jelly-filled donuts with homemade strawberry filling!

Raised Donuts with Homemade Strawberry Jam Filling
Making jam for these was surprisingly easy

I found some gorgeous strawberries at the farmer's market, whipped up a popular strawberry freezer jam recipe and spooned a dollop on top of raised donuts.

Strawberry Jam Filled Bullseye Donuts

I am now officially ready for summer. Yeeah! 'Merica!!

INGREDIENTS for 15 large bullseye donuts

Strawberry Freezer Jam (adapted from 30 Minutes to Homemade Sure Jell Strawberry Freezer Jam)
1 pint fresh strawberries
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp powdered pectin

Donuts (This raised donut recipe was adapted from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
2/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
3 1/2 all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (dough) + 1 cup (tossing donuts in at the end)
3/4 tsp ground mace
2 tsp kosher salt
3 eggs
7 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
lots of canola oil for frying - enough to fill your pot 2" deep


  1. Before you go to bed, make the donut dough so it can chill overnight. In your mixer bowl, combine 2/3 cup whole milk and 2 1/2 tsp yeast, give it a couple slow whirls with the dough hook and let it sit while you do some "mise-en-placing" (see next step).
  2. In a medium bowl, measure out 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tsp kosher salt. Whisk all together to aerate and combine.
  3. Flip the mixer on to slow and add the 3 eggs to the yeast/milk sludge. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix for about 5 minutes to develop the dough.
  4. Use a spatula to scrape all of the sticky dough off the dough hook and the sides of the bowl and plop the dough directly into plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and pop it in the fridge to let it chill overnight. The dough is really sticky and needs to be very well chilled before handling.
  5. If you're not too sleepy yet, you can make the strawberry jam the night before too. Otherwise, make it at least 4 hours before you spoon it onto the donuts to make sure it is completely chilled. Warm jam will steam up the donuts and make them soggy. Ew. To make the strawberry jam, first stem and slice the strawberries and cook them in a saucepan at medium heat until soft, mushing as you go.
  6. In a medium saucepan, dissolve 2 tbsp pectin into 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Pour in the mashed strawberries and the 2 cups of sugar. Stir until dissolved and that's it! Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until completely cooled.
  8. When your donut dough is completely chilled, you can start rolling and cutting rounds. Roll to 1/2" thick, go to town with your 3.5" round cutter. To make the bullseyes, use a 2.5" cutter and make a hole in the middle of each round. Transfer the ring and the hole together onto a floured cookie sheet, being careful not to separate them. Space them about 2" apart so when they rise they don't bump and crowd each other.

  9. Next, construct the proofing chamber in your oven. Place a 9”x13” roasting pan on the bottom rack and then pour boiling water into it to fill it to about half way. Pop in the donuts on the top rack, uncovered and let them rise for 2 hours.
  10. Next, take out a big stock pot and fill it 2” deep with canola oil, turn the heat on to medium, stick in a thermometer and wait for the oil to heat up to 350° F.
  11. Fry time! Using the metal spatula, carefully transfer the donuts with the holes intact from the cookie sheet into the oil. These donuts are pretty fluffy, so they need to cook about 60 seconds on each side.

  12. When the donuts have cooled, use a spoon to "pop out the nub" or in other words, remove the top of the donut hole in the middle of the round.
    Use a spoon to lift out the top of the hole (leave the bottom intact)

  13. Toss the donuts in sugar and spoon about 2 tbsp of strawberry jam into the center of each donut. Enjoy with tea :).

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