Nothing... except the prescribed 8 hour+ time it takes to make them (talk about delayed gratification)... I'm not sure why Ms. Joanna Chang wants you to refrigerate the dough for minimum 6 hours (develop the flavor, I'm thinking) but we did away with that step.
There are few things as satisfying as working with yeasty dough. I love the texture- the elasticity and poofiness- and the smells of the yeast. The Daughter likened the line-up to an army of puff balls.
In the evening, we set to work on frying up the doughnuts. There's a lot of hot oil there- gotta watch out!
After a roll in granulated sugar, the doughnuts are ready to be filled.
The Daughter happily poked and filled the doughnuts with the vanilla cream. (I believe I heard her whispering, "A little for me, a little for the doughnut." Let's just say there was a lot of taste testing going on. Y'know, gotta to be sure.)
We used a two-inch round cutter for the perfect bite individual sized doughnuts.
In the background, you can see the larger ones we made, which were misshapen because we free-formed them, with about a 4-inch diameter. The dough was not cooked entirely through in the large doughnuts; we all liked the smaller size better.
The Whole Family loved the doughnuts and can't wait to make them again, though with the amount that we consumed, it might not be for awhile.
VANILLA CREAM-FILLED DOUGHNUTS
from flour by Joanne Chang
1 package active dry yeast (2½ teaspoons)
⅔ cup (160 grams) milk, at room temperature
3½ cups (490 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ cups sugar, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 or 8 pieces
Canola oil, for frying
Vanilla Cream Filling
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 recipe Pastry Cream, chilled
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast and milk. Stir together briefly, then let sit for about 1 minute to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour, ⅓ cup(70 grams) of the sugar, salt, and eggs and mix on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the dough comes together. Then, still on low speed, mix for another 2 to 3 minutes to develop the dough further. Now, begin to add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is soft and cohesive.
Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or up to 15 hours.
Lightly flour a baking sheet. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch square about ½-inch thick. Using a 3½- to 4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 9 doughnuts. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to rise for 2 to 3 hours, or until they are about doubled in height and feel poufy and pillowy.
When ready to fry, line a baking sheet with paper towels. Pour oil to a depth of about 3 inches into a large, heavy saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. To test the oil, throw in a pinch of flour. If it sizzles on contact, the oil is ready. (It should be 350ºF if you are using a thermometer.) Working in batches, place the doughnuts in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown. Then gently flip them and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown on the second side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the prepared tray and let cool for a few minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
Place the remaining 1 cup sugar in a small bowl. One at a time, toss the warm doughnuts in the sugar to coat evenly. As each doughnut is coated, return it to the tray to cool completely. This will take 30 to 40 minutes.
To make the vanilla cream filling:
While the doughnuts are cooling, whip the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold it into the pastry cream. You should have about 3 cups.
When the doughnuts are completely cooled, poke a hole in the side of each one, spacing it equidistant between the top and bottom. Fit a pastry bag with a small round tip and fill the bag with the filling. Squirt about ⅓ cup filling into each doughnut. Serve immediately.
1¼ cups (300 grams) milk
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, scald the milk over medium-high heat (bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan, but the milk is not boiling). While the milk is heating, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended, then slowly whisk in the sugar mixture. The mixture will be thick and pasty.
Remove the milk from the heat and slowly add it to the egg-flour mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly. When all of the milk has been incorporated, return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk continuously and vigorously for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. At first, the mixture will be very frothy and liquid; as it cooks longer, it will slowly start to thicken until the bubbles disappear and it becomes more viscous. Once it thickens, remove the pan from the heat.
Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small heat-proof bowl. Stir in the vanilla, then cover with plastic wrap, placing it directly on the surface of the cream. This will prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or until cold, or up to 3 days.