August. About fifteen years ago. Bungalows plunged into the pine forest of the Tuscan coast. Marghe, my cousin, and me. We sleep in two beds, surrounded by our summer treasures: Mickey Mouse comics, rackets and sun lotion. Next to us Claudia – still a puppy – lost in her dream world of cotton candy. In the kitchen, mom and aunt already chitchatting, but we do ignore them, let’s sleep as long as possible, until he arrives with his old fashioned bicycle and the basket full of good things, he is the doughnuts man.
He comes ringing the bell on the bike and singing his rhythmic recall between streets and sandy paths: doughnuts, krapfen, bomboloniii! Almost every day our parents go to buy some breakfast, and return with a bag of white paper with everything a fifteen year old girl – still far away from any silly idea of diet – may want on awaking. Doughnuts and krapfen still warm, sugar-coated and ready to be eaten with a fruit juice and sleepy eyes.
This summer, in one of the hottest afternoons of August, I decided to try to make them after so many years, and by chance that very day Marghe came to visit us. It has been a dive into childhood! It has been easy to go back to that summer of fifteen years ago… Just close your eyes, bite your krapfen and then lick your fingers sticky with sugar.
For the recipe I was inspired by Donna Hay Modern Classics Volume 2.
- 300 g flour 00
- 300 g bread flour
- 300 ml lukewarm milk
- 3 eggs
- 100 g melted butter
- 100 g sugar + sugar to coat doughnuts & krapfen
- 25 g fresh brewers' yeast
- vegetable oil to deep fry
Place the yeast and lukewarm milk in a bowl. Add melted butter, sifted flours, eggs and sugar to the yeast mixture and mix with a butter knife until a sticky dough forms. Bring the dough together by kneading on a lightly floured surface: knead until it becomes smooth and elastic, velvety and no longer sticky.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea-towel and set aside in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size. When doubled, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for five minutes and roll out the dough until 1cm thick.
Wanna make krapfen? Cut 8cm rounds from the dough with a cutter. Wanna make doughnuts? Cut a hole in the middle of the rounds with a smaller cookie cutter. Place krapfen & doughnuts on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper, cover with a tea-towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until risen.
Heat the oil in a saucepan (I used a wok) on medium - low heat. Test the oil temperature with a piece of dough: the dough should immediately float to the surface and be surrounded by small bubbles. If it does so, the oil is at the right temperature.
Deep fry a few doughnuts & krapfen at a time for about 1 minute per side or until they are golden. Drain on paper towels. Doughnuts are now ready, just toss them in sugar. Krapfen should instead be filled with a pastry syringe with your favourite jam and then tossed in sugar. Serve warm.
Tasting test. I reckon they are not like those we used to eat at the seaside. Perhaps it was due to the lack of the smell of the pines, to the absence of salty air on my skin and sea sounds on the background… but honestly they were not so bad! The chosen jam for krapfen was a homemade plum jam, sharp and lively, a perfect contrast with the sweetness of soft fried dough. Breakfast – but why not, even an afternoon break – made with doughnuts & krapfen has a regressive power for me, licking my fingers covered with sugar included!
For a complete analysis of the doughnuts world, have a look at Michele and her delicious post on 5am Foodie! You won’t be disappointed!