Special to The Washington Post
— Brandy Doughnuts With Dark Chocolate Marzipan and Strawberry Confiture
Makes 28 to 32 large doughnuts
The almost perfectly round shape makes these doughnuts look striking. Refreshingly, they are not too sweet. It's best to weigh ingredients for this recipe, and you'll need a thermometer to monitor the frying oil.
If you like, you can fill the doughnuts with the Strawberry Confiture; or buy good-qualilty strawberry preserves. Use the Dark Chocolate Marzipan as a glaze or filling. Or substitute your favorite filling.
MAKE AHEAD: The optional confiture can be made a day in advance, covered and refrigerated. Reheat gently in a saucepan before using. The formed doughnuts need to rise for one hour before frying. The doughnuts are best served soon after frying. Adapted from a recipe by pastry chef Barry Sayag of Tatti Bread in Israel.
For the doughnuts
14.8 ounces all-purpose flour (3 cups plus 2 tablespoons, measured by scooping the flour into a measuring cup and leveling)
12.7 ounces bread flour (2 3/4 cups plus 1 teaspoon, measured by scooping the flour into measuring cups and leveling)
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (from 3 envelopes of yeast)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus unsalted butter for greasing the baking sheets
11.1 ounces (a scant 1 1/3 cups) milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brandy (may substitute water, milk or orange juice)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1.4 ounces (2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) warm water
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the strawberry confiture
1 pound strawberries, hulled
11 ounces (a generous 1 1/3 cups) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the dark chocolate-marzipan
9 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) heavy whipping cream
2 ounces marzipan, pinched off into small pieces
9 ounces dark chocolate (55 percent cacao), cut into small pieces
For the doughnuts
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Place the flours, yeast, baking powder, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough-hook attachment and mix at low speed for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter, milk, brandy, eggs and water, and mix at low speed for 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 6 minutes, until the dough is completely incorporated and smooth; keep a close eye on your mixer here, because the stiff dough may cause it to move around on the counter.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and grease with a little butter.
Form the dough into balls weighing 1 3/4 ounces; they will be a little larger than golf balls. Place them on the prepared baking sheets, cover each sheet with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise at room temperature for an hour or until doubled in volume.
While the dough is rising, fill a medium saucepan with at least 3 1/2 inches of oil; the level of the oil should come no more than 1 1/2 inches below the top of the saucepan (to avoid steaming the doughnuts as they fry). Heat to 356 degrees. Line a large platter with several thicknesses of paper towels. Have a wire cooling rack at hand.
Carefully add a few dough balls at a time to the oil. Fry for about 2 minute, until golden brown on the underside, then turn them over and fry for about 2 minutes. Use a large slotted spoon to transfer them to the paper towels just long enough to wick away any excess oil, then transfer them to the rack to cool. Repeat to fry all of the doughnuts.
For the confiture: Bring the strawberries, sugar, vanilla bean and lemon juice to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, with the mixture barely bubbling, until the jam thickens. Use a fork or stick blender to break up any large berry pieces. Discard the vanilla bean and cool. Transfer the confiture to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain piping tip, or to a kitchen syringe. Pierce the top of each doughnut and pipe in enough confiture until a small bit of it appears at the opening.
For the chocolate-marzipan: Bring the cream and marzipan to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and add the chocolate, stirring until it has melted and the mixture is thoroughly combined. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. If using to glaze the doughnuts, dip each doughnut top in the mixture while it is still warm; allow to set until dried. If using to fill the doughnuts, transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a plain piping tip or to a kitchen syringe (or fill a resealable plastic food storage bag and cut 1/2 inch off one bottom corner). Pierce the top of each doughnut and pipe in enough confiture until a small bit of it appears at the opening.
Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Serve as soon as possible.
NUTRITION Per doughnut (based on 32, without the filling): 160 calories, 4 g protein, 23 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar