Today is Mardi Gras, but as we mentioned on Friday, it’s also known as Fat Tuesday or Donut Day; a day to celebrate and indulge before Lent. Traditionally a fried donut would be served today, so we’ll start with one this morning, but there are so many delicious (and easy!) donut recipes out there, that we thought we would be fun to check in again this afternoon with two different donut recipes, one baked, one fried, both glazed!
While this donut is fried, that’s where the similarities between it and the yeast dough used to make the Pennsylvania Dutch Fasnachts end. This is an Italian recipe using ricotta cheese. Other than remembering to pick up the key ingredient and having enough oil for frying, these donuts are easy to make on a whim because you probably have the rest of the ingredients in your kitchen. I made them one Sunday morning, and they were such a hit that they immediately won a place in our weekend morning rotation along with the typical waffles and pancakes. Bonus ~ our neighbors loved them too! More on why that’s important below.
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4-5 cups vegetable oil for frying
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Using an electric mixer, beat the ricotta cheese until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, again beating until just combined. Let your batter stand for 30 minutes*.
- While the batter rests, heat your oil to 365F. As we’ve mentioned before, a simple candy thermometer is a great resource. Ours even came with a little plastic cover that lists the temperatures for common candy and frying needs. As a gauge, with the oil in a medium sauce pan it took about 10 minutes to get up to temperature.
- Fry your donuts. Drop a rounded tsp of dough into the hot oil. You can typically fit four to five donuts in the oil at a time. Let them fry for about 2-3 minutes until they are golden brown, and flipping them once at about the half-way point. Remove the finished donut with a slotted spoon and place them on a papertowel over a cooling rack to let the excess oil drain off.
- When the donuts are completely cool, sprinkle them with powdered sugar. You can also leave some plain. Calder loved testing out different sweet toppings on his ~ honey, jam, yogurt.
*Speaking from experience, this 30 minute window is the perfect time to run to the store if you just realized you don’t have enough oil for frying.
A few tips ~
- I was not careful with the size of my donuts, often making slightly bigger donuts and letting them in the oil for additional time to thoroughly cook. Whatever you do, it helps to manage the cooking time if you’re consistent with the size of donuts within a batch.
- I also wasn’t careful about making perfectly rounded balls, rather I just plopped the dough into the oil and it took on crazy shapes. If looks aren’t important, then plop away ~ it’ll go faster and spare you any mess of trying to make them round.
- If your silverware set came with iced tea spoons, this is the perfect time to use them! I would use two for dropping the dough into the oil. One for scooping the raw dough, and the other for scraping it off of the first spoon and into the oil. The long handle keeps your hands away from the oil while the small scoop gives you a perfectly sized donut!
- Watch your oil temp. It helps to keep your thermometer in the oil. I had paused between two of my batches, and I noticed that the oil temp increased quite a bit. You definitely want to keep it near 365F, because at higher temps the outside of your donut will brown quickly, but it won’t cook all the way through.
According to the original recipe, one batch will make 5 dozen donuts. Since I made larger donuts, I didn’t end up with that many, but I did have at least 3 dozen. In my opinion, these donuts don’t hold up well, and are best eaten the day they are made. After we enjoyed our fill with coffee, I boxed up the leftovers and dropped them off for a few different neighbors.
Until I made these, donuts just seemed like they were more effort than it was worth, but was I ever wrong. Plus it was fun to see the excitement in the house when they knew fresh donuts were in the works!
What about you? Have you made donuts? Have any favorite recipes? Do you spell it donut or doughnut?
See you back here this afternoon for donuts with holes and frosting, oh my!