Monday November 8, 2010

Triforce Doughnuts using my powers for delicious

I couldn’t write a post on coffee without following it up with one on doughnuts.

I love doughnuts.

I used to consume them indiscriminately, but at some point I realized: doughnuts I shall always have with me, my figure, not so much. Out of a sense of self preservation, I developed some semi-rigorous “acceptable consumption” guidelines: I will only eat made-from-scratch doughnuts, unless they are Mister Doughnut donuts. I will only eat doughnuts while they remain warm from the fryer. I will only eat doughnuts accompanied by a cup of freshly brewed coffee.

90% of the time, the doughnut at hand does not meet one or more of these criteria, so I’ve saved myself from a lot of calories and a lot of doughnut mediocrity. (As well as the pain and suffering associated with having a delicious doughnut but not having any coffee. Worse than one of those “Got Milk?” commercials from the 90s. So tragic!)

Autumn weather and trips to the orchard generally call for making a batch of apple cider doughnuts, but this year my doughnut making urges hit well before our first orchard run. I didn’t want to make apple cider doughnuts without authentic apple cider, so I decided to figure out something equally autumnal, but with what I had on hand: a giant pile of sweet potatoes.

Calls for a giant pile of sweet potato doughnuts, if you ask me!

stack of doughnuts

I think of sweet potato desserts as a fairly easy sell. Sweet potato pie remains one a staples on Thanksgiving dessert tables throughout the South, and I’m sure the flavor enjoys popularity Northward and beyond. I don’t need to convince anyone of the merits of a sweet potato, right?

Their sweet, mild flavor and velvety flesh improves both the texture and flavor of an otherwise straight forward doughnut recipe. If you’ve ever had a slice of potato bread, you probably still remember the luxurious softness. As a dough, it feels soft and supple, and as a nut of dough it has a fine crumb almost like pound cake.

When I made these, we still had a pretty large pantry stash of an heirloom variety called Nancy Hall. Mr. BraveTart and my father (heretofore called “the Old Gaffer”) grew them in their garden this year. As a yellow fleshed variety, they lent a rather buttery looking warmth to the dough but didn’t otherwise change the color much. For a more pronounced visual proclamation of “I am Sweet Potato!” use an orange skinned variety.

How you get the sweet potato for the recipe doesn’t really matter. It’d make great use of leftover baked sweet potatoes. You could steam peeled chunks, nuke one in the microwave, or roast one in the oven for a bit more of a complex flavor, whatever. Just make sure the potato has thoroughly cooked so that it purees into a perfectly smooth paste, with no hard bits or lumps.

I really love glazed doughnuts, but don’t so much love the ubiquitous powdered sugar glaze. I think it has a strange, metallic sort of flavor. So I dipped these doughnuts in something I like to call sugar ganache: a simple combo of cream and sugar, flavored with a vanilla bean and enriched with a bit of butter. (Full disclosure: there is no such thing as “sugar ganache.” Please don’t mention it at parties. They’ll laugh at you.)

I’ve included a brown butter and sage variation on the glaze recipe, which I’ve found insanely addictive. It may not go over so well with the more culinarily straight laced, but this is BraveTart after all, some bravery required. But not much. Anyway, how much fun is it to say “Sage Glaze”? Three times fast, I dare you.

Brown butter, sage, and autumnal root vegetables have epic Triforce like powers. Harnessing this power for the good of dessert is neither avant garde nor particularly clever of me, but I make no claims at ground breaking recipe development here. Just stupidly tasty doughnuts.

I first feared the sage would make the doughnuts a little too herbal for coffee, but I was dead wrong. The earthy, aromatic qualities of the sage really played nicely with the coffee, and thus did not violate my third rule of doughnut consumption.

Donuts and coffee

We took these doughnuts with us to Caffe Marco and enjoyed them with Mark Newberry’s signature dark roast coffee (pictured above), a blend of Sumatran and Mexican coffee beans. Quite literally the freshest cup of coffee I’d ever had. Doughnut nirvana.

I wanted to break open a doughnut or two to get a few shots of the fine crumb and lovely buttery color. But… I would have had better luck getting a shot of a slice of raw meat thrown to a pack of wild dogs. The moment I broke open a doughnut, nothing could stop me or Rosco, Mark or his mysterious neighbor the clock-man Patrick, from devouring it immediately. No photos survived the doughnut massacre.

If you’d like to get your coffee-and-doughnut on, check out my recipes for Sweet Potato Doughnuts and vanilla bean "sugar ganache" glaze. You’ll find the instructions for the sage variation at the end of the glaze recipe.

So, to digress just a bit, has anyone else ever tried Mister Donut? I didn’t know this until five minutes ago, but it used to be a regional chain here in America, and a few remain even today. Mister Donut is so synonymous with Japan to me, it boggles my mind to think it’s originally an American company. My favorite is Honey Type, just because that’s the best name for a doughnut ever.

posted byStellaand filed under:  Cakes  Fruit  Sideshow Photos  Vanilla

14 comments and counting

Nov 08, 2010 ·  5:49 PM

Sweet Potatoes Rock!!!!

 · Sandra ·

Nov 09, 2010 · 12:19 AM

I want to go buy a donut pan right now and make these! I have a mini donut pan – maybe that would be good, too!

 · Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum ·

Nov 09, 2010 ·  7:40 AM

No doughnut pan required! Or are you going to bake them and save a few calories?


Nov 10, 2010 ·  5:05 PM

Why is there no bakery even trying to make unique treats like this? Or am I mistaken? I have not been to the local old name Lexington bakeries in years because they are always so uninspired and insipid. Is Lex just too small to support great food? At least we have a good bread source and much better grocery options than in years past.

 · deadly · 

Nov 12, 2010 ·  1:50 AM

Keep posting your original flavor combinations that just plain work.

Your Japan reference made me think of daifukumochi. How about an adzuki bean doughnut with a green tea tapioca filling?

Where’s the complimentary pic of the steaming cup of joe with a potato straight out of the ground?

 · Jean Dough ·

Nov 12, 2010 · 12:15 PM

I think I love you. But bring me a donut and then I will know for sure.

 · Daisy · 

Nov 14, 2010 · 11:56 AM

This can be arranged!


Jan 30, 2011 · 12:52 PM

Oh my gosh, these look AMAZING! Lately I’ve been eating lots of sweet potatoes, I swear I’m going to turn orange. Can’t wait to try this!
Jess : )

 · Jess ·

May 10, 2011 ·  9:59 PM

These look fantastic!! But I’m still really intrigued by your mention of apple cider doughnuts… I know it’s out of season right now, but is there any chance of posting that recipe in the future?

 · Katie · 

May 12, 2011 · 12:52 PM

Katie, I know it’s a wait, but I will be sure to make apple cider doughnuts come autumn. Promise!


Mar 18, 2012 · 12:05 PM

Love this recipe! Linking back to it in my next post

 · marla ·

Mar 18, 2012 ·  9:04 PM

@marla, thanks so much! I look forward to it.


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