Kumera Doughnuts

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Remember my promise to be healthy.. well.. ignore it for the next few minutes, because we did something bad…

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DOUGHNUTTTTTTTTTTTSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!

And then.. we made it worse..

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It all started off with one of my favourite lazy morning day off activities, a brainstorming session over coffee about fine french desserts. We talked about beignets. Then we talked about kumera beignets. And then I bought a kumera.. and then I made doughnuts with it.. and CB made pork patties with garlic, salt & pepper, smoked paprika and marjoram like a breakfast sausage burger. And we put on the doughnut… with cheese.. and an apple.. and we ate it.. and we ate another one.. and another one.. we ate 6 of them… and then, we gave eachother fat greasy high fives while crying.

And then, while CB was on the couch with doughnut burger induced paralysis, I snuck into the kitchen and made the worlds fastest doughnut glaze, glazed the rest, and had a couple more for good measure.

In America, a cheeseburger made on a Krispy Creme doughnut is called a Luther Vandross. In New Zealand, I think it should be called a Che Fu. CB knows Che Fu, so maybe this weekend he’ll ask him if that’s okay. He’s a White Lady regular, soooo I have a feeling, he’ll be cool with it.

These little bad boys are soft, tender and sexy inside and crispy outside. They aren’t greasy at all, and have a gorgeous kumera flavour with a soft background flavour of coconut. Kumera is like a sweet potato, the only difference I can see is that its not as sweet and cooks much faster. So you can eat your doughnuts and still get in a serving of veg!

Kumera Doughnuts

Time: 30 minutes prep, 2-4 hours rising time, 30 minutes frying

Yield: 2 dozen 3″ doughnuts

Cost: < $5

1 medium kumera, or sweet potato, or about 2 cups of mash

1/2 cup brown sugar

Squirt of lemon juice

1 cup coconut cream

1 egg

3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp yeast

6 cups flour

2 cups of canola oil for frying

Chop the kumera into pieces about 2cm large and put them into a little saucepan. Cook them on medium along with the brown sugar and lemon juice until soft and squishable, about 10 minutes. At the point either puree or mash them up real well with the back of a fork. Transfer to a large bowl and pour on the coconut cream. This should cool the mixture down to about blood temperature. If its still quite warm, leave it sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until its about 90-98 degrees.

Sprinkle the yeast over the kumera mash mix and stir well. Add a beaten egg and room temperature butter and stir. Sprinkle your flour over, about a cup at a time, while mixing with your hand. Once all the flour is mixed in, you can start kneading your dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface for at least 10 minutes.

Transfer to a well oiled or buttered bowl, cover with a tea towel, plastic wrap or in my case, Avengers t-shirt and place in a nice warm place to rise. My house is freezing right now so Ive found a spot of sun for it to sit in. Let it double in size.

Punch it down, give it a couple of good kneads to redistribute the yeast. Roll it out about 3/4 of an inch thick, and cut out ya ‘nuts. Put them in a warm spot, covered with a clean tea towel and let rise about 30 minutes until fat and fluffy. Meanwhile, heat your oil to 180 degrees. If you dont have a thermometer, you know its ready when you drop a wee drop of water in it and it sizzles instantly. I always make a few rough little balls of leftover dough to test the temperature of the oil. You want it to start to brown and bubble around the edges of dough almost instantly, but not to get too dark. Usually the first one is too light or too dark but good for snacks.

Quick Coconut Glaze

2 cups icing sugar

4 tbsp hot melted butter

All of your leftover coconut cream– you want to add just enough to make it thin enough to dip, but stay thick enough to stick to the doughnut.

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Cinnamon & Rhubarb Cupcakes

Cinnamon spiced cake, swirls of soft rhubarb frosting, with a tart rhubarb surprise inside. Its like a coffee cake all dressed up to go to a fancy party!

I made a rhubarb compote from the rhubarb I picked out of the garden as soon as I could this morning. Rhubarb is one of the best things. I was just going to keep it and spoon it over my yogurt in the morning, but I want to make cupcakes to enter into a contest to win a cool gadget, so I thought why not.

Rhubarb syrup, strained of of compote. Look at that colour!

I had a recipe for snickerdoodle cupcake Ive been wanting to try and cinnamon + rhubarb is great. This recipe is not fussy and including cooling time I made these in about an hour this afternoon. Now I can sit down and have a cup of tea and eat them all before anyone else comes home, wahaha. No one has to know….

Cinnamon Cupcakes with Rhubarb Frosting

Yield: 1 Dozen
Time: 30 minutes

Hardware:

– 2 large bowls
– 1 medium bowl
– Spatula
– Electric mixer
– Small pot
– Wooden spoon
– 1 regular sized muffin tray (12)
– Cupcake liners
– Fine mesh strainer
– Piping Bag + Tip or an Ice Cream Scoop

Software:

Cinnamon Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, soft
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
vanilla
3/4 cup milk

Filling: Strained rhubarb compote

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line standard muffin tins with paper cupcake liners.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as you go. Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low.

With the a spatula, fold in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of milk, until evenly combined and you have a smooth batter.

** If you use your electric mixer to add in the flour you will more than likely overwork the batter, making it sticky and elastic.

Fill just the bottom of each cupcake liner with about a tablespoon of batter. Spoon a teaspoon sized blob of rhubarb compote in the middle and then cover with more batter to reach 3/4 of the way to the top of the liner.

Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

Rhubarb Compote

1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
Zest and juice of 1 orange

Combine and cook over medium heat 10-12 minutes, until mixture resembles apple sauce.
Strain off liquid and set aside for using later. Cool both to room temperature.

Rhubarb Frosting

1/2 cup butter softened
1/2 cup reserved liquid from rhubarb compote
5-6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Sift powdered sugar and set aside.
Beat together butter, rhubarb puree, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it reaches your desired consistency.
To finish, combine remaining pipe frosting on each cupcake.

Popcorn Creme Brulee

Sweet, salty, creamy, buttery, smooth, crunchy.. need I go on?

Infusing cream with the taste of freshly popped, salty, buttered popcorn makes a particularly delicious creme brulee. Your spoon cracks through the layer of crunchy caramel into a silky custard below. The combination of caramel and butter popcorn makes this taste like candy corn. Only way sexier.

I had an item on the menu at the hotel that was a butterscotch tart, shortbread, a scoop of butter popcorn ice cream. Pretty much as much butter and salt and sugar as I could get onto one plate. It was kind of meh, however the Popcorn ice cream was addictive. I found myself craving it today, and alas without an ice cream maker. Creme Brulee is basically ice cream but you chuck it in the oven instead of the freezer! This definitely satisfied my craving.

You can use this method to flavour your cream with any number of things before hand, and then strain them out just like the popcorn. Its a nice way to coax the flavour out of something like tea, peach pits, flower if you’re into it..

For more details or to download a PDF version, check it out on Instructables.

Butter Popcorn Creme Brulee

Yield: 2 large or 4 small ramekins
Time: 6 hours
Cost: <$10

Hardware:

– 2 medium, heavy bottomed pots
– 4 cup measuring cup, with spout
– tinfoil
– fine mesh strainer
– whisk
– 2 large ramekins, or 4 small ramekins
– dish large and deep enough for ramekins
– kettle
– tinfoil
– butane torch

Software:

1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup canola or peanut oil
2 tbsp butter

OR 2 1/2 cups of freshly popped microwave popcorn

1 cup heavy cream (+ an extra 1 cup  handy in case of absorbent kernels!)
1 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp salt (may need more or less)

1/2 cup sugar for the brulee bit

Instructions:

Heat milk + cream in a pot, just until its hot to the touch, not boiling.

Meanwhile..

Pour 4 tsp of oil into the pot, dump in popcorn kernels and swirl to coat with oil. Cover with lid or tinfoil. Place over medium-high heat and watch carefully. When your kernels start popping, shake your pot so that popcorn rises to the top and the unpopped kernels shake back into the hot oil at the bottom. Continue popping until most of your kernels have popped.

Be VERY careful not to burn any kernels. Any hit of burnt popcorn and that’s all you will taste in your creme brulee! Its better to leave some kernels unpopped then try to pop it all and burn some.

When your popcorn is done, take it off the heat. Throw your butter into the bare bottom of the pot, so that it melts quickly in the residual heat. Put the lid back on once its melted, and shake.

Add buttery popcorn into cream & milk. Stir, and let sit at least 1 hour to steep all the flavour out. For maximum popcorn flavour, leave in the fridge over night.

When your mixture has finished steeping, pour through a fine mesh strainer into a measuring cup with a spout. Make sure to press the popcorn in the strainer to squeeze out all the cream. Some may have been absorbed by the popcorn, just add as much more fresh cream as you need to measure 2 cups.

Have your egg yolks in a large round bowl and whisk at the ready.

Pour into a medium pot with the sugar + salt, and bring to a simmer. Do not boil, you just want the cream to be hot! Taste the mixture, and and more salt if needed. I find the more salt I add, the more it brings out that movie theatre flavour.

Rinse out your measuring cup.

Preheat your oven to 300F.

Switch on your kettle, with 4 cups of water inside.

Carefully pour the hot cream into the yolks, in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Once all the cream is added, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the measuring cup.

Place ramekins into the large baking dish.  Divide the mix evenly into each ramekin.

If there’s a lot of bubbles on the surface you can get rid of them by quickly passing your torch over the top to break them. That will make the top smooth as glass when they come out of the oven.

Pour in enough hot water to reach the middle of each ramekin. Cover the baking dish with tinfoil.

Bake at 300F for 30-45 minutes. If your ramekins are larger, they will take longer. Your creme brulee’s are done when you shake the ramekin and there is a slight jiggle, a shimmy, if you will. Like this:

Refridgerate for atleast 2 hours before you brulee the tops.

To Brulee:

Sprinkle a tbsp of sugar over the top of the creme brulee, turning it to distribute the sugar in a nice even layer. With your kitchen torch lit in one hand, and your brulee on a slight angle in the other, begin to melt and burn the sugar, while turning your ramekin. You want the sugar to get quite dark, but BLACK is never good. Let cool 5-10 minutes before cracking the top and eating all the soft goodness underneath!

Tea & Cake

Spring has arrived in New Zealand but I think it forgot to bring the nice weather with it. Today is pretty grey, with a cold wind and I’m hiding from it. We’re spending our Sunday in the living room, wrapped up in blankets, covered in poodles watching daytime television. Its the perfect sort of day for a nice old fashioned tea cake.

This is not a fancy cake. I just chuck everything in a food processor and press a button. Spoon it into a parchment lined loaf, bundt or cake pan and let it do its thing in the oven. The cake has a soft, almost squidgy texture, which reminds me a little of pumpkin pie. Make sure to use persimmons that are nearly ready to burst they are so ripe, that’s when they have the nicest flavour and holds up against the whiskey I poured into the batter.

Its really lovely covered in some freshly whipped cream with a cup of sweet black tea.

Persimmon & Whiskey Cake

Time: < 1 hour
Yield: 1 Loaf or 8″ cake

3 ripe persimmons
3 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whiskey
1 cup raisins
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg

In a small pot heat whiskey + butter until melted, add raisins and set aside.

Cut each nice ripe persimmon in half, and scoop out the insides into a food processor. Puree.

Add in eggs and sugar. Blend until smooth.

In a bowl combine your flour, baking soda and salt and give it a stir together.

Add your flour mix to the food processor. Pulse until well mixed. Pour in warmed butter, whiskey and raisin mix, and pulse just a couple of times to combine. If you over do it you’ll puree the raisins, and you just need to give them a bit of a chop.

Spoon batter out into a parchment lined loaf or cake pan and bake at 350F for around 45 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Optional:

Beat 1 cup of heavy cream to medium peaks and spoon over the cake.

Old Fashioned Cake Doughnuts

Love me some dohnits!

These are great doughnuts. I like to make them when I’m craving something terrible, but don’t have the patience to make proper yeasted doughnuts or a giant chocolate cake. They’re cake doughnuts, and they take no time at all to whip up.

They are soft and lovely inside, with a hint of nutmeg, covered in sweet crunchy glaze. Yom. I have posted the recipe here, with lots of pictures and a way more thorough set of directions if you’re interested. I have also added how to make them into really proper sour cream doughnuts, how to fry them perfectly, and different flavours of glaze.

Old Fashioned Cake Doughnuts

Yield: 12 medium sized donuts + holes
Time: 30-45 minutes
Cost: <10

Hardware:

– large bowl
– medium bowl
– heavy bottomed pot suitable for deep frying
– spider, slotted spoon or tongs
– chopsticks or two spoons
– rolling pin
– cookie cutters, 3″ for the shape and 1″ for the holes
– cooling rack
– tea towel

Software:

– 2 ½ cups flour + more for dusting
– ½ cup white sugar
– 1 tsp baking powder
– ½ tsp baking soda
– 2 tsp nutmeg
– ½ tsp salt
– 1 egg
– 1 cup buttermilk
– ½ cup butter, melted

Optional:
For old fashioned sour cream doughnuts, sub sour cream thinned out with a tbsp or two of water for the buttermilk in the recipe. For a sour cream glaze, sub in sour cream for the melted butter + 1 squirt of lemon juice

Instructions:

Combine dry ingredients.

Mix wet ingredients into dry.

Knead until dough comes together. Roll out ¾ inch thick and fry at 375 degrees.

If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use a milk with a tbsp of lemon juice like I have here. You can also use sour cream thinned out with a little bit of water, or even yoghurt.

Glaze

4 cups icing sugar

¼ cup butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp honey

Hot Water

Sift icing sugar into a medium sized bowl.
Add honey ,melted butter and vanilla to icing sugar and mix.
Add hot water until desired consistency is achieved, while mixing well.

 

Peach & Pear Butter

Fruit butters are some of the nicest things to eat in the world. They have a beautiful smooth, spreadable texture, and the long cooking process caramelizes the sugars and brings out deep flavours hiding in the fruit. Technique wise it’s kind of  between making a jam and making caramel. As it cooks, you can see the texture become finer, more translucent and glossy. The colour goes from a light grey-brown to a beautiful deep caramel. Fruit butter takes patience, and a gentle hand, but it’s such a unique taste, and mind numbingly good on scones, buttery toast, or even on top of a pork chop. Oh baby.

Originally I had tried making this in the slow cooker, but it just made an applesauce textured mush. It needs a high temperature to get the colour, texture and flavours I was looking for.

Peach & Pear Butter

Yield: 1 Litre
Time: 2 hours
Cost: $2.99

10 pears
10 peaches
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp salt
Vanilla Bean (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
++ You can add ginger, whiskey or cinnamon if you’d like

** To use for testing if it’s done later on, plate a small plate in the freezer now**

Peel, and dice pears and peaches. Put them in to a large, heavy bottomed pot and add a cup of water.

Cook until soft and breaking down, approximately 15-20 minutes. Puree well in a blender or with an immersion blender. Pour through a mesh sieve into a smaller pot. Press out every bit of juice until you have an almost dry pulp. Set aside.

Put the strained peach+pear mix back on, and bring to a simmer. Add in sugar, salt, and any flavours (except vanilla). Reduce by half on medium-low heat. This will take quite a while, and you should stir it often to prevent the bottom from burning.

The aim is to cook out almost all of the moisture, while simultaneously caramelizing the sugars. You’re looking for nearly 200 degrees on a thermometer. If you take a spoonful out and blob it onto a cold plate, the water shouldn’t separate quickly out of it and drip away. Youre butter should be in a mound on the plate, and if you poke it into a little mountain, it should stay.

When its finished, spoon while hot into clean, sterilized jars.

 

These photos look like I pooped all over a plate and stuck my finger in it.. but I promise it’s the fruit butter. It demonstrates the different stages, and what you’re looking for as a final product.

After about 20 minutes of boiling. The liquid separates from the pulp instantly on the plate, and is thin and runny.

Second spoon test after about 40 minutes. The colour is starting to look nice, but still too runny.

Third spoon test, after about an hour of cooking. Colour is great and the pulp holds its shape very well. It’s slow to drip, and the liquid that comes out is thicker than before.

Fourth spoon test, an hour and a half of cooking. Very slow to drip and holds it’s shape.
Colour is dark, but not burnt.

The mixture is thick and the liquid that comes out is thick and glossy like caramel. If you push it around the plate a bit, it holds its shape. It should be thick enough to imagine spreading on toast.

Gorse Flower Cordial

Gorse grows in bushy scrub, it is covered in sharp spikes and has beautiful, bright yellow flowers. To a farmer, it’s a bloody scurge, and that’s why most of it has been pulled up year after year on the farm here. To me, it’s pretty delicious. I went tramping through the little section of boggy woods today and found a lot still growing in the patches of sunshine that managed to pierce through the silver ferns. The flowers are sweet and smell faintly like buttery coconut. They’re lovely to chew on.

Watch out for spikes!

I went out for a walk today and filled a basket with the flowers, being careful not to squish them or take any that had wee spiders sleeping inside them. The bees were very interested in what I was doing with all their flowers. I was picking them to make a syrup out of them, to add to soda water or rum. Yum. I like making use of things most people think of as a pain in the ass. CB can attest to that. If you have Gorse growing near you, which you probably do, I definitely recommend giving this a try.  It is an almost flourescent yellow syrup with a light floral honey taste and a soft feel in your mouth, like coconut. Its extremely nice and keeps in the fridge for weeks. I’m going to pour mine over vanilla ice cream for dessert later.

Gorse Flower Cordial

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 lemon
3 cups of fresh gorse flowers

Bring water and sugar to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat, and add orange zest, lemon juice, and course flowers. Gently stir. Let steep over night or at least until cool enough to pour through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bottle.