Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Baked Doughnuts with a Blood Orange Glaze

The continuation of my blood orange journey saw the making of candied blood orange slices…. and doughnuts with blood orange glazes.

Firstly, the slices:
The candied slices were very easy to make, with the longest part of the process being their time drying out. 

Cut off the ends of two blood oranges, then thinly slice the remainder. In a saucepan, combine ¾ of a cup of caster sugar with 2 cups of cold water. Bring the sugar and water to the boil, then reduce the heat to a low just-bubbling summer. Carefully place the orange slices into the water, and let them simmer for about 50 minutes.

Every now and then, I would shift the slices from the bottom of the pile in the saucepan to the top, just to ensure they all cooked evenly through. After 50 minutes, carefully remove them using tongs, and lay on top of a wire cookie cooling rack with a metal tray underneath to catch any drips. Be careful moving them, as they are quite soft by this stage. Let them air dry for about 24 hours.

As for the leftover sugar/water mix, you will find that this has gone a beautiful shade of deep red from the juices. Keep this to use as a simple syrup for making cocktails, or use it as a sauce to pour over pancakes, ice cream, or a chia pudding. Red Belly Citrus themselves suggested to me over Instagram to keep on cooking the sauce down to make a stretchy blood orange taffy…. or cook it for longer to turn it into toffee. They accidentally reduced some of this sugar/water mixture down a few years ago and discovered the wonderful properties that result from the added cooking time. They cut up their toffee pieces and stir it through ice cream to make a wonderful cassata. Yum!!!!

After the candied blood orange slices are dry enough, dip half of each slice into melted chocolate and devour with glee!! As they have cooked for 50 minutes, the skin is really soft and easy to eat, just like citrus rind is in marmalade. Plus the added bonus of chocolate + orange equals JAFFA! One of my most favourite flavours.

The doughnuts:
Firstly, do you spell it donuts or doughnuts? I think donuts is the more Americanised version (think Homer Simpson and "Mmmmmm... donuts"), and doughnuts is the more English/Australian version. Do you agree?

I bought two doughnut pans several years ago because I wanted to make baked versions, instead of investing in a deep fryer. Don’t get me wrong, I love to munch on a deep fried doughnut at the first chance, I just didn’t want to own a fryer and deal with the oil, and the clean up, and the oil, and well, all that oil really. Plus it would be too tempting to whip up anything (read Tim Tams in batter… banana wrapped in bacon… that sort of thing). Just think, I’m missing out on some kind of wonderful experimental deep fry up party! Alas my waistline is not sorry…. So back to the doughnut pans….

They are super easy to use, and you can spoon the mixture right into the pans, so no need for messy piping bags. I made these with cinnamon, and loosely followed Ina Garten’s recipe which is found on the Food Network website. I say loosely as I tweaked the sugar levels much lower than what the recipe called for, and did not follow the end dipping ritual of butter, cinnamon and sugar, as I wanted to glaze them instead.

So the recipe I used goes as follows…

In a large bowl, add 2 cups of plain flour, 75g caster sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg, and a scattering of salt. In a separate bowl, melt 30g of butter, then whisk in 1 egg, 1.25 cups of milk, and a teaspoon of vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and use a spatula to make sure everything mixes together. Carefully spoon the mixture into the (sprayed) doughnut pans, and make sure to only fill them about half way, or else they lose their doughnutty definition and look more like muffins! Bake in a 350 degree oven (lower heat by 20 degrees for a fan forced oven) for 15-17 minutes, until they are light golden brown in colour and appear to come away from the sides easily. After removing from the oven, leave in their trays for about 5 minutes, before turning them out onto a cooling rack.

When they are cold, they are ready to glaze. I mixed up two types of glazes. The first was 1 cup of sifted icing sugar with about ¼ cup of blood orange juice. Add in the juice slowly until you reach the desired glaze thickness. I kept mine nice and thick.  For the other glaze, I used 1 cup of sifted icing sugar and a little milk. Again add in the liquid slowly until you get the thickness you like. I also added in a little grated blood orange zest.  Dip in the tops of the doughnuts to the glaze and set on cooling racks to harden, or dribble over the glaze the doughnuts in pretty patterns. I even scattered on a few coloured sprinkles, because… well, sprinkles. Have fun with them. You could even turn them into a Birthday Cake of sorts, by making a huge pile of them! 

They made about 23 doughnuts in total, and trust me, they don't last long!  

What is your favourite flavour of doughnuts? 

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Panna Cotta with Blood Oranges

I was fortunate to recently be gifted an entire box of blood oranges from Red Belly Citrus. Owner Len is indeed very generous in offering entire boxes to foodie types, and I am thoroughly enjoying myself working through the box, making delicious dishes using this wonderful fresh Australian produce. Follow my upcoming blog posts to see what marvelous creations I create using this superb fruit.

My delicious box of fresh Blood Oranges arrived via a Fastway courier in the early afternoon. I got chatting with the delivery driver, and discovered he had not had his lunch yet. I reached into the box of blood oranges he just dropped off to me and handed him a couple of oranges. I asked “Have you had blood oranges before?” to which he then told me about his previous jobs in hospitality and catering, and being allowed to take home leftover fruit platters. That’s when he and his family shared in having blood oranges.  He thanked me for the fruit, and was on his way.

Now… what to make with all these blood oranges?

I have always wanted to try my hand at making panna cotta, so I headed down to the local shops to buy some cream, and few other ingredients to use with these oranges over the next few days.

I have always thought that making panna cotta was hard. Don’t ask me why, I guess because I’ve always had perfectly set, unmoulded, creamy panna cotta when out at restaurants, I assumed it would be a tricky dessert to master. How wrong was I!!  I found this really easy recipe on the Australian Woolworths website (note: this is not a sponsored post). I pretty much followed the recipe, minus the plum syrup, and simply poured the mixture into small glass dishes so there was no unmoulding required. See? Easy peasy.

The recipe that I used goes as follows:

Whisk 3 teaspoons of powdered gelatine with 2 tablespoons of hot water in a medium sized bowl. Use a bowl that allows you plenty of room to run the whisk around.

Next, combine 300ml pure cream, 200ml milk and 45 grams of caster sugar in a saucepan, and heat until it’s just about to boil, but do not allow it to boil. Remove from the heat, and spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the cream mixture into the gelatine. Whisk that in. Then pour the gelatine mixture back into the cream mixture and thoroughly combine it through.

Strain this combined mix through a fine sieve to remove any lumps, into a Pyrex measuring jug. I used this jug has it has a pouring spout. Next, pour equally into 4 small glass dishes. You end up with just over 500ml of liquid, so that makes for a dessert serving of about 125ml each which is an ideal size. Pop these into the fridge to set. They take around 3 hours to be set enough to eat, but are still perfectly fine the next day.

When serving, I chopped up the flesh of a blood orange into small pieces, removing any pips. Pop this flesh into a small dish and put into the microwave – covered with paper towel – for about 40 seconds to heat it through. Spoon the orange pieces over the panna cotta, and scatter over crushed pieces of pistachio nuts.

Voila! An easy dessert that is destined to impress any dinner party guest, or to just have as a fancy dessert at the end of the day.

1. I used light milk, as it was the only milk I had on hand, and I noticed that my panna cotta set into two very distinct layers. Both layers were equally set, so the gelatine worked, but I think the density of the pure cream rose to the top, and the lighter milk settled near the bottom. Next time I might use a higher fat milk so this doesn’t happen again. It still tasted perfectly fine.

2. Alternatively you could cook the orange pieces in a small saucepan to give them a more stewed texture, but the microwave does a similar job, in a fraction of the time.
I also gifted six oranges to our new neighbours. They are a Defence family who have moved here from the Northern Territory. Their young boys have only ever known NT weather, so they have been quite shocked by the cold Canberra winter weather. The first weekend they were here, there was snow visible on the Brindabella mountains. Eeek! Let’s hope Spring hurries up for their sake and we get some warmer temperatures. I hope they enjoyed fresh oranges! 

Stay tuned for more delicious blood orange posts!