Donuts with Pomegranate Caramel
Donuts, doughnuts, however you spell them, they are popular whether baked or fried. I became intimately familiar with all things doughnut when I was working on my book, A Baker’s Field Guide to Doughnuts, and found that they are much easier to make than most people think. Don’t be afraid of the frying. If you bring the oil up to temp (we do recommend a candy thermometer) the guesswork is eliminated. This recipe for Donuts with Pomegranate Caramel is from the musician Kelis, who also just happens to be a Cordon Bleu trained chef. She takes a fairly basic and easy donut recipe but then drizzles it with a lovely pomegranate caramel. Perfect for fall. As with all doughnuts, these are best enjoyed close to serving time. Also check out her Olive Oil Cranberry Cake, both from her book, My Life on a Plate.
Excerpted with permission. My Life on a Plate, by Kelis. Published by Kyle books, 2015. Photos by David Loftus.
A couple of years ago, I took my son, Knight, to visit a friend’s church and they were offering coffee and donuts afterward. Knight was such a little guy that I didn’t even know he knew the word “donut” and suddenly he was like, “I need more donut!” I feel that way about donuts myself. I don’t want them anywhere near me when I know I have to perform because I have absolutely no self control over donuts. I make these when Knight and I want to indulge our cravings. I put a bourbon-based pomegranate glaze on them, but he likes a plain glaze; he’s a classic kind of guy.
- 11/2 cups pomegranate seeds
- 4 allspice berries
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 packed cup light or dark brown sugar
- 11/2 cups bourbon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3 (1/4-ounce) packages rapid-rise yeast
- ½ cup hot water
- 71/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ¾ cup sugar
- 11/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup vegetable shortening
- 21/2 cups boiling water
- 3 large eggs
- Canola oil or vegetable oil for deep-frying
- For the Caramel: Combine the pomegranate seeds and ½ cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the allspice, cloves, cinnamon stick, and brown sugar. Return the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the seeds are mushy and nearly all of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl; discard the contents of the strainer and return the syrup to the saucepan.
- Add the bourbon and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until thick and syrupy. Turn off the heat and stir in the cayenne to finish the syrup. If you are creating a glaze, add the butter and stir until it is thoroughly incorporated. Any remainder glaze can be stored in the refrigerator.
- For the Donuts: Combine the yeast and the hot water in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and set aside for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Add 3 cups of the flour, the sugar, and salt, and mix on low speed to combine, then add the shortening and mix to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Tip in the boiling water and blend well. Add the remaining flour and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the side of the bowl.
- Take the bowl off the stand. Cover it with a kitchen towel or paper towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has risen to about double its size.
- Lightly dust a flat work surface and your rolling pin with flour. Turn the dough out onto the work surface and roll it out until it is ½ inch thick. Cut out 10 to 12 donuts with a donut cutter or a 2- to 3-inch biscuit cutter. Place them on a baking sheet, cover them with the kitchen towel, and set aside in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil over medium heat until it reaches 350°F. Prepare a bed of paper towels for draining.
- Drop the donuts into the oil and fry until golden brown, 45 seconds to 1 minute per side. Remove the donuts from the oil and drain them on the paper towels. Drizzle them with the pomegranate glaze and serve warm. If not serving immediately, drizzle over some more glaze once you are about to serve.