Jelly doughnuts, peeps. I’ve got to tell you, I was never a fan. Until this past summer, that is, when I met a pal for lunch at a bakery in his neighborhood (and by “lunch” I mean we ate doughnuts and cookies and a slice of pie). He suggested that we try a doughnut of the jelly variety. I acquiesced, and it was delish. I’m not going to lie, I can’t quite remember the flavor, but I am thinking grape. The doughnut was slightly puffy, and yeasty, light and fruity, and oh, so tasty. I was officially hooked.
Yet, the jelly doughnut researching and making did not begin immediately. There were other things on my summer baking/bogging bucket list (mixed berry (brown sugar) buckle, red currant jam, peach crumble, etc.). However, in early fall while sharing the aforementioned jam with a houseguest, one of us (both of us?) concluded that the tart, but sweet jam with the beautiful reddish/pink hue, would be perfect encased in a yeasty raised doughnut.
Cut to a few weeks ago, and the self-inflicted jelly doughnut immersion classes began. In short, jelly doughnuts were everywhere. But having no issues about jumping on a bandwagon filled with doughnuts, i plunged ahead with my own recipe. I knew my doughnut would be based on a modified version of my yeasted cinnamon rolls (with a bit of extra sugar) and I knew my filling would be my aforementioned jam. I had recently put my frying prowess to the test, when making apple cider doughnuts, and so, honestly, this all came together in a snap.
Yes, filling my oh, so pillowy doughnuts proved to be a bit tricky and slightly messy, but the results were nothing short of spectacular. The tartness of the jam proved to be the perfect foil to the rich yeasty, slightly sweetened, dough. A 12-year old taste-tester of mine pronounced them perfect — and perfect-looking as well (despite a bit of oozing jelly) — as did a somewhat pickier 10-year old one. And when the test kitchen is happy, i’m pretty confident you will be, too.
Red Currant Jelly Doughnuts
For the red currant jam (you can of course substitute any jam or jelly of your liking)
- 4 pounds red currants de-stemmed — frozen is fine
- 3 cups granulated sugar
For the doughnuts
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup bread flour
- 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tbsp shortening
- 1 cup buttermilk and a bit more as needed, room temp or warmed slightly in the microwave or on the stove top (just to take the chill off)
- 1 large egg room temperature
- Copious amounts of canola oil for frying
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting
To make the jam/jelly
- Place the currants in large heavy-duty pot on the stove-top over high heat and stir frequently until the currants soften and collapse.
- Let them cool slightly. Add the currants to a food mill, grinding them into a slightly smaller pot (or the same one you used to cook the currants, once cleaned).
- Add the sugar to the milled currants and stir. Place the pot on the stove over medium high heat, until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to high, bring the mixture to a boil, and boil the currants and sugar for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, checking to make sure the mixture does not burn.
- Pour the boiled currants into clean jars, place lids on them, and turn the jars upside down on the counter (this seals the jars) until the jam has cooled to room temp. Then place the jars, still upside down, in the fridge until cold and solid.
- Whisk the jam with a fork — still in the jar — prior to filling your pastry bag. You will have leftover jam after you fill the doughnuts which is a very good thing, FYI.
To make the doughnuts
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flours, yeast, sugar, salt, and starch, and mix until incorporated. On medium-low speed, add the butter, shortening, buttermilk, and egg, and continue to beat until a shaggy dough forms.
- Remove the paddle, replace with the dough hook attachment, and on medium-high speed, continue to beat the dough until a smooth mass forms that comes off the sides of the bowl and sticks only a bit to the bottom, about 7 to 9 minutes. If your dough is not sticking at all to the sides or bottom, when you begin kneading it with the dough hook, add more buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is wet enough to stick a bit.
- Turn the dough out into a medium bowl that has been greased with butter or sprayed. Turn the dough ball over in the bowl to coat it in butter/spray, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it has almost doubled in size.
- Once the dough has doubled, spray the counter (you may not need to do this — you can make the call as to how sticky your dough seems at this point) and turn the dough out on to the sprayed (or not sprayed) surface.
- Using your hands, roughly shape the dough into a rectangle and roll it out until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, begin cutting out doughnuts. Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet (or two) as you work. Once you have cut all of your doughnuts, you may re-roll your scraps and cut out more doughnuts, or you can just make doughnut holes with them, using a 1-inch cutter.
- Loosely cover the pan(s) with plastic wrap, and set aside for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the doughnuts rise to about 1 1/2 times their size.
- When ready to fry, fill a large, heavy pot with 2-inches of oil, attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and heat the oil on medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 350 degrees, or a bit above (the temperature will drop when you add your doughnuts, but while frying, you want your temperature to stay at 350).
- Line a cooling rack with a thick layer of paper towels, about 4 thick, and place it near your pot.
- Once the oil is at temp, carefully transfer a couple of doughnut holes to the oil (you may need to roll them in your hands before placing them in the oil to help them get back their round shape). I fry the holes first so i can see what the temp of the oil is and to get a sense of how long it will take to fry my doughnuts. Fry the holes for 1 to 2 minutes, using wooden chopsticks or any two thin utensils to gently flip the holes over after one side has browned. When both sides are nicely browned, using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the holes to the prepared cooling rack, and to prevent the doughnuts/holes from absorbing extra oil, gently pat them with additional paper towels.
- Continue frying the holes and then move onto the doughnuts, being careful to avoid overcrowding.
To assemble the doughnuts
- Once at room temp, make a hole in the side or top of the doughnut (the doughnuts are a bit easier to fill if you do so from the top) with a chop-stick or similarly sized pointy utensil. Dust them with confectioners' sugar. I waited to do this until after i filled them, but am thinking doing so before might work, too. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip with about 1/2 to 1 whole cup of jelly of your choice, and begin filling the doughnuts. Lightly squeeze the pastry bag until you feel the doughnuts expand a bit to judge how full they are.
- Consume at once. The doughnuts are edible on day two, but they are best eaten on the day they are made, as the dough toughens as they sit.