I recently met up with some other lovely food bloggers at Bord Bia where we were given tips on how to improve our food photography and styling skills. Light and aperture, backgrounds and props were discussed - but at no time did anyone offer me any advice on how to keep the hungry hordes away from fresh, hot, sugary doughnuts long enough for me to get that decent shot. Here is the recipe, accompanied by what pictures I did manage to get before being wrestled to the ground and my doughnuts devoured by the wee ravenous beasties.
220g strong white bread flour
7g active dry yeast (That's one sachet of McDougalls)
4 tbsp caster sugar
1 medium egg, beaten
Oil for deep frying (Sunflower is good for this)
Sugar for coating
1. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour with yeast. In a small saucepan heat the milk, sugar and butter until the butter melts. Stir milk mixture into the flour along with the egg, beating with the mixer on low for 30 seconds, to combine. Increase speed to high and beat for three minutes. Add the remaining flour, a little at a time, to make a firm but pliable dough. Knead dough until smooth and supple. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let dough rise until it doubles in size, this should take about an hour.
2. Turn the dough out onto floured surface, Divide into twelve even sized pieces and roll these into smooth balls. Transfer, spaced well apart from each other, onto baking sheets, cover and let rise until doubled in size again, about 45 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a deep sided saucepan to 360 degrees F (180 degrees C). Fry the dough balls by lowering them into the oil with a large slotted spoon, in batches. Turn once, until golden all over. Using the same slotted spoon remove doughnuts to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain. Let doughnuts cool a little and roll in the sugar. Serve hot, with the chocolate sauce (see recipe below).
Note: You can test that the oil is hot enough by putting a cube of bread in, it should brown in about 30 seconds at this temperature. Frying the doughnuts until golden takes approximately 2 minutes, about one minute per side.
This amount will feed 3-4 ravenous beasties so double up if you have more. And always remember that with fresh homemade doughnuts, there are never, ever any leftovers no matter how many you make.
An Easy Chocolate sauce
170g of plain chocolate broken into small pieces
100ml of water
115g caster sugar
55g of butter in small cubes
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Place all of the ingredients together in a saucepan and heat over a low heat, stirring continuously until the ingredients blended together.
(Nutella is a very acceptable substitute for the chocolate sauce.)