Friday, 20 June 2014

The biggest barefoot doughnut-A variation on a theme of the Contessa

20/06/14 - Dear diary It´s the first day of summer.

The sunbeds and beach umbrellas are all out and soon the Algarve,like the Riviera region of any country, will be subject to the onslaught of the north come south for their holidays.Sunning themselves on their beach towels, there is a plaintive sound that raises them from nodding off on their Saramago´s to join the queue for a fresh doughnut. The Bolinhas (little balls/marbles) vendor is as ubiquitous on an Algarve beach as the hawker selling Eiffel Tower keyrings at the Trocadero in Paris. His job is to walk the hot sands of the Algarve beaches selling off his freshly fried Bolas.Above the hubbub of beach banter his call is distinctive "Boleeeenhaaaaaasssss", followed by a soundtrack of crema vs. crema."con crema" "sem crema" Who would think a still warm custard filled doughnut would be tempting in 30 degree heat? Well it appears it is.
Love them or hate them, I was compelled to try and make them at home.Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) was demonstrating how you can bake them instead of frying them.I never knew that,but what a brilliant idea,and in the European age of obesity so much healthier.I did not have the required doughnut pans so I improvised and used a small bundt pan.I measured and it made exactly the same quantity but just one big doughnut.I thought this was quite original and after the final stage of sugar coating the beast, I filled the centre of the ring with creme fraiche and topped it with summer fruits ( I don´t think blackberries are indigenous to the Algarve but what the heck... if Lidl has them expats like myself will buy them).It makes a perfect light pudding for a summer lunch and due to unprecedented popularity I have since made a second one.


Variation on a theme of 
Barefoot Contessa baked doughnuts
I omitted Cinnamon and nutmeg from the original recipe
Buttered paper and sunflower oil for greasing the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the topping:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease bundt pan well.
Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined.
Spoon the batter into the bundt pan, filling it a little more than three-quarters full. Bake for 17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then tap the doughnut out onto a flat tray.
For the topping, melt the 8 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch saute pan.Sift the sugar and  in a small bowl. Dip each doughnut first in the butter and then in the  sugar, either on one side or both sides.

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