My friend’s mum who lived near us in Belfast was famous for her doughnuts and kindly gave me the recipe. I’ve simplified it slightly but it worked well the first time I made it, which is always a plus! You can fill the doughnuts with jam, custard, Nutella or indeed any filling of your choice. (You can easily swap the dairy items for plant-based yoghurt and milk.)
300g strong bread flour
A scant teaspoon of dried instant yeast
20g sugar, plus extra for rolling
A heaped tablespoon of yoghurt or sour cream
20ml warm water
4 tablespoons of jam
1. In a saucepan, warm the milk and butter over a medium flame until the butter has dissolved. Leave to one side to cool while you gather the rest of the ingredients.
2. Add the yeast, warm water, sugar, yoghurt and flour to a mixing bowl. Making sure the milk & butter mixture is warm, rather than hot, add to the ingredients in the bowl. Mix and knead well to give a soft dough. It should be soft, but not sticky. Add a little more milk if it’s a bit dry or crumbly.
3. Leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or so, until it has doubled in size. Quickly re-knead the dough and roll into nine or ten evenly sized balls. (These are on the smaller side. We’ll leave big doughnuts to the experts for now. I’m a bit nervous about getting big ones to cook through properly. Try and make the balls of dough neat but don’t worry about it too much.)
4. Put the rolled balls onto a greased tray. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 45 minutes.
5. Warm your oil up in a wok. If you have a food thermometer, heat the oil up to 160C. If not, heat for 5 minutes over a medium heat – test it with a cube of bread. If it goes brown quickly, the oil should be ready.
6. Put three or four doughnuts into the oil. You will see them start to puff up. After a minute or so, turn them over – the underside should be brown. Cook the other side until it’s brown. It should take 3-5 minutes to fry each the doughnuts. Remove the doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon and put them on a plate lined with kitchen roll.
7. Once you’ve fried all the doughnuts and they are cool enough to handle, coat them in sugar by rolling them on a plate sprinkled with sugar. Next fill a piping bag with a few tablespoons of jam. Poke the piping nozzle into the bottom of a doughnut and squeeze to fill. Stop piping when you notice a little jam leak back out. Eat while still warm and fresh!