While high-volume stores tend to make large, round
doughnuts, Michael Gilligan, executive chef at The Rusty
Pelican in Key Biscayne, Fla., makes mini stuffed dough
balls so guests can enjoy several different flavors.
He experimented with traditional kinds of dough, but was
not happy with how they cooked and tasted. So he decided
to use a dough recipe from a fried chocolate-ravioli dessert.
Instead of rolling out the dough to make ravioli, he rolls the
dough into small balls for the mini doughnuts.
The dough is made ahead of time and comes to room
temperature before the doughnuts are cooked. “If they were
left in the cooler and then tossed in the fryer, it’d create a
mess, and they wouldn’t puff up,” Gilligan says.
When cooked, the balls puff up perfectly, and a filling
of chocolate ganache, raspberry purée or anise cream is
injected immediately after they come out of the fryer. Then,
they’re tossed in cinnamon sugar.
Maws uses goat’s milk in the confiture du lait, giving the sauce
a more tangy, complex taste compared with a sauce made with
cow’s milk, which could be bland and one-dimensional.
PHOTO CREDIT: Opposite, top, Andy Rupczynski; opposite, bottom, Craigie on Main; above, Andrea Donadio
A key to Gilligan’s recipe is adding a bit of sea salt to the
dough. “Instead of the doughnut and its filling being thickly
sweet, the sea salt levels out the flavor profile by bringing out
the butter, milk and eggs,” he says.
Doughnuts are generally considered a breakfast item first
and foremost, and secondly, a dessert item. But Ryan
Bleibtrey, executive chef at The Original, a Dinerant,
Portland, Ore., likes to include them as part of the center
of the plate.
Each order is six mini doughnuts, with two each chocolate
ganache, raspberry purée and anise cream.
the naked truth
“A doughnut unto itself is great,” says Tony Maws, executive
chef at Craigie on Main in Cambridge, Mass. “You don’t
need to overly dress up a doughnut unless you’re trying to
cover up an inferior product.”
He tops his Niman Ranch pork shank with brown butter
and sherry jus with an apple fritter. “The 1-ounce fritter
complements the dish and gives some crispy textural
diversity and sweetness,” he says. “It’s my play on the sweet-
and-savory aspect combination.”
In June 2010, Food Network Magazine listed its best breakfast
dishes in every state. It named Maws’ housemade doughnut
with confiture du lait, rolled in a mixture of cinnamon,
nutmeg, cardamom, vanilla and sugar, the best in the country.
It makes perfect sense to use the fritter as a garnish, because
bacon and doughnuts is currently the rage and apple works
with pork. Bleibtrey uses a standard fritter recipe, except
he adds sage and a touch of bourbon, which gives the fritter
more structure and complements the ingredients used in the
pork shank recipe.
He follows a standard doughnut recipe, but uses buttermilk
and fries the dough in peanut oil. “The doughnut tastes like a
buttermilk doughnut—slightly tangy,” Maws says. “And the
difference in using peanut oil, which is a richer oil, is that it
makes the doughnut crispier and darker in color.”
The fritter is topped with a bacon icing. “It’s really no
different than a beignet or a pâte à choux garnish,” Bleibtrey
says. “It’s just a bit more of an Americanized version.”
ROB BENES, A CHICAGO-BASED JOURNALIS T, WAS PREVIOUSLY THE EDITOR OF CHEF
AND CHEFEDUCATOR TODAY. HE HAS MORE THAN NINE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE WRITING
ABOUT CHEFS, FOOD, WINE AND SPIRITS FOR TRADE AND EDUCATIONAL PUBLICATIONS.