Gentle Readers, in honor of her role as Deep-Fried Ambassador for the N.C. State Fair 2011, The Practical Cook broke one of her rules and fried in the house. Yes, the kitchen smells like Fried and there’s powdered sugar everywhere, but it was well worth it. If you can’t make it to the fair right away, or your state fair is yet to come or has already gone, this one’s for you: a cheating version of deep-fried doughnuts.
Deep-Fried Doughnuts Recipe, Simplified
My mission: go to the grocery store and skip through the aisles looking for various things to doughnutify. But first I gathered the gold standard of Southern doughnuts, another N.C. native, the original glazed Krispy Kreme:
Visual inspection and a lifetime of Hot Now indicate glaze as key to doughnut success. Because I lack a glaze waterfall at home, I simply whisked some milk and powdered sugar together, with a smidge of fresh vanilla bean (dash of milk, a few Tablespoons of powdered sugar, stir and tinker until the consistency suits you).
Now, which of these ingredients would lead the pack? Here’s the list, and the visual: canned buttermilk biscuits (the flaky layer kind), canned butter-me-not biscuits (with the yellow flecks), canned crescent rolls, pizza dough, and brown-n-serve rolls.
For method, I formed each item into a doughnut shape. The Brown-n-Serve rolls were a fail, too brown to serve this function. Everyone else did fine:
I put an inch or so of oil into a medium sauce pan with high sides, and heated for some time over almost high heat. Concurrently, I heated the oven in a lame attempt to try baking a few to see if it would work. (It did not, BTW, don’t fight the Fried here. )
Lean in and I’ll confess something: it was a lot of fun to fry. Very satisfying browning and sizzling happening there. However, be sure the dough is close to room temperature, the oil isn’t too hot, and the doughnuts are shaped fairly thin, or you’ll get doughnuts al dente, and want to barf. (Um, not that that happened to me, nooooo.)
I fried, I put on a paper towel to absorb the oil, and I glazed. Now for the taste test:
The hands down winner: the butter-me-not biscuits deep-fried. The buttermilk version came in second, and the crescents were so fatty even a croissant would pass out next to them. (The crescents rocked in the fake cinnamon roll category, to be blogged about later.) The pizza dough would make a better bagel, and the baking of doughnuts is but a pipe dream.
In conclusion, it was no elephant ear, but the refrigerator butter-me-not biscuit dough makes a very passable doughnut hot from the oil. Special thanks to Miss Clairol for the inspiration and the method, and Dr. Particular for being particular and tagging in to corroborate my findings.
Have you made homemade doughnuts? If not, give it a try, and let us know what you think! Post a comment below, or Tweet away.
REMINDER: Deep-Fried Tweet Up at N.C. State Fair tomorrow. There is space on the roster to join the Scavenger Hunt with me, so come on down!
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For tomorrow, in honor of the preview of the N.C. State Fair: The Practical Cook’s Guide to Fair Enjoyment