Alright sugar, let's get stickaaaay!

It's time for something sweet and sticky! Week VIII was advanced dough on the Great British Bake Off and I simply couldn't resist the call of the doughnut. It was far too tempting. With hindsight though, it is a rather lengthy process what with all the proving and allowing time to cool before you put the jam in... I could have gone to the Krispy Kreme drive through, come back and eaten my box of assorted dozen (don't judge) in half the time! It was really fun making them though and that's another exciting bake to tick off!

Paul Hollywood's Jam Doughnuts
500g white flour
50g caster sugar
40g unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 x 7g sachets of instant/fast action yeast
10g salt
150ml warm milk
130ml water
strawberry jam

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and hold back a quarter of the water. Stir or mix in the mixer (fit it with a dough hook - see piccie above) until a dough has formed. Slowly add the remaining water and knead the dough in the bowl or turn the mixer on for a few more minutes. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. My surface ended up more heavily than lightly floured as the dough was veeery sticky and wouldn't knead at all so I got a bit impatient and thought I'd help it along a bit.

Once kneaded, place your dough into a bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel and leave to prove/rise for an hour. This is the part that's a bit long, and just to give you a head's up there's going to be another hour of proving after this one's done so it might be an idea to check what's on TV and pause the TiVo before you get started on this recipe!

After a hour of Jeremy Kyle/Big Bang/David Attenborough (I'm easy), get back to the kitchen and lift the tea towel to marvel at how much your beautiful dough has risen! Me, mum and Eve all gathered around for the unveiling and did synchronised gasps. I feel compelled to point out that this is not an essential step in the recipe, but a bit of TLC is sometimes all a blob of dough needs to encourage it along. The secret's in the making :)

Plop the dough back onto the counter and knead it about a bit. I'm going to take the risk of sounding very odd here, but this dough is ADORABLE. It's got a very unique weight to it and it really folds and sits in the palms of your hands. Super-cute.

Now Mr heart-throb Hollywood says this recipe makes 10 doughnuts, however I got 12 and they were still pretty sizeable, so just do your best to divide the dough into equal portions, roll into balls and place on floured baking trays. You may now totter off for part two of Educating the East End as these need to prove for another hour.

1hr later...
Come back! Come back! *blows whistle*

 If you too are keen on these sugar-coated fatty balls of delight but don't have a deep fat fryer, fear not! I don't own one and can report that the saucepan method is just as effective. Pour some sunflower oil into a saucepan and leave it to heat up for a few minutes. I was a plonker and didn't check the quantities of oil in the house before getting started on this recipe so I had to use a very small saucepan in order to use up less oil. This meant I had to put the doughnuts in one by one which took a very long time so I would recommend using a large one to speed up the process. Mickey Blue Eyes says 5 minutes per side, but after 2/3 doughnuts the oil had really heated up so I found that only 2.5/3 mins per side were necessary.

Prepare a plate with some sprinkled caster sugar to place the doughnut onto once it's ready to come out of the pan. Using tongs, roll it about a bit until it has a thick, sugary coat then place on cooling rack or side plate. I placed some kitchen rolls on top of my plates to help absorb some of the oil; if left to cool without this they can become a bit soggy. Repeat process until all doughnuts are done. Leave until completely cooled (again, I started too late so I left them overnight... I just don't learn do I?!) then using a small sharp knife (I actually used a BBQ skewer cause I wanted to try to create as small an opening as possible), make a slit in one side of the doughnut through to the middle. Using a piping bag or syringe, scoop in strawberry jam and fill up your doughnuts. I used seedless strawberry jam cause it saved me going through the whole process of having to sieve it; if you are using jam with seeds or thick clumps of fruit remember to do this as otherwise it will clog up your piping bag or syringe.

And there you are! I was very excited to get a few of those lovely white rings on some of my doughnuts - tip: don't pour too much oil into the pan and you will be left with a light ring around the middle of your doughnuts where the oil hasn't met when you've turned it over. One thing I found very amusing is that this is Paul Hollywood's recipe, but somehow my sister and I managed to create very Polish looking doughnuts i.e. dark, sugary and huge! You can't escape what's in the blood!

The piping bag and BBQ skewer look a bit 'doctor's surgery-esque' in the photo above! Well, at the rate my family are scoffing these doughnuts someone may need medical assistance sooner or later...

Our next theme on the Great British Bake Off is Patisserie! It calls to mind pretty pink boxes, rolls of deli wrap, chinagraphs and hogging the reduction gun... big up ex/current Waitrose food counter workers! Those were the days my friend... but pop on your baking chapeau and your moustache bouclée because next week, mon amie, we are heading across ze channel! See you next time, bon appétit!

For Paul Hollywood's full recipe follow the link:

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