Hibernation must be in my body’s future. It has been craving thigh-fattening fare for a couple weeks and I can only acquiesce. As I hear my yogi friends say listen to your body and give it what it craves. Sure their svelte, healthy body’s yearn for green leafy vegetables and seaweed, but mine is yelling, screaming for deep fried sweets. In my defense of my body, it has very rarely asked for sweets in its long life. When the whispering about donuts began in my psyche or soul or wherever, I was sincerely surprised.
This deep-seated interest in donuts that has manifested itself in my soul became evident as I sat in the dentist’s chair. I was sitting in that turny seat full of remorse about the ungodly volume of tea that I consume daily and its mark on my teeth. Guilt gave way to obsession as I started to focus on the donut shop across the way. When I left the parking lot, clean teeth and all, will-power reined supreme as I passed Amy Joy by. But, then another donut shop appeared in my view. What was I to do? Fine as they were, those donuts did not satiate me.
And then this weekend, I decided to make Masala Coffee Donuts. We were having friends over for Indian food and I wanted to create a fantastic dessert. Basically, I have an over-inflated sense of my cooking ability and often make new recipes for company. The results can be hit or miss—particularly with dessert. That evening’s round of donuts was so unsuccessful that I went to sleep focusing on how to improve the recipe. The next morning I attempted again. Yes, I made donuts two days in a row. And, yes, my husband did joke, “time to make the doughnuts?” The second time around I added buttermilk to the dough; I am a huge proponent of buttermilk. I believe they made the difference.
The resulting doughnuts are not the average chocolate frosted, and so I suggest if you serve them you warn your guests. The dough has cracked pepper and honey, and the frosting has coffee, cardamom, pepper, honey and jaggery. Doughnuts “gone native” perhaps.
Masala Coffee Donuts with Espresso Cardamom Cream Filling
(Adapted from Epicurious)
makes more than 24 doughnuts
In the bowl of a stand mixer, allow to sit for ten minutes the following:
2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm whole milk (105°F to 115°F)
1/2 cup plus 2 T buttermilk at room temperature
Add to stand mixer and beat with the hook attachment:
2 eggs slightly beaten
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, cooled to lukewarm
1 T honey
In a separate bowl combine:
4 cups all purpose flour
1 t ground cardamon
1 t freshly crushed black pepper
1/2 t almond extract
1/2 t salt
Add dry mixture to the stand mixer in small batches until it comes together in a sticky dough.
Let rise for 4 hours.
Pat out the dough into a large rectangle. Cut out rounds using cookie cutters(and then cut the whole in the middle with a smaller cookie cutters.) Let rise for 1 hour on a baking sheet.
Fry at 350 until brown.
When the doughnuts are rising make your filling.
When doughnuts are cooling, make glaze.
Cardamom Espresso Pastry Cream
Soak 1 handfull of crushed espresso beans in 2 cups whole milk for 1/2 hour.
In a sauce pan on medium whisk:
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups coffee steeped whole milk
5 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp crushed pepper (optional)
Whisk until thickened. Chill for 4 hrs with tin foil to cover. (They say plastic wrap but it is not easy to recycle or to reuse.)
Coffee, Honey, Blackpepper Glaze
Steep 8 blackpeppercorns and 2 cardamom pods in 1/4 cup coffee for 20 minutes.
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whip until smooth and then simmer.