The Quest for the Perfect Old-Fashioned Doughnut – Round One.

I have a sweet-tooth. Actually, I have more than a sweet-tooth. I am, in fact, an unbridled collection of sweet-teeth.

L has a thing for old-fashioned doughnuts. The kind of doughnuts that are all crunchy goodness from deep-frying on the outside, and dense, cakey, and nutmeggy on the inside. And rolled around in a bed of cinnamon sugar to finish them off.

old fashioned donuts.

What better way for two hedonists to end a 2 week food-porn vacation/staycation, than with deep-fried sugary nutmeg infused Mmmmmmm-ness? After all, I would be travelling home to the cold of a Dunedin Mid-Winter, with snow forecast the week of my return. And L was off to India for an academic conference, where he might get all manner of gastric disturbances. Shoring up the calories in one last sprint of kitchen debauchery seemed very sensible under the circumstances.

One small problem remained. These were L’s memories of the old-fashioned doughnuts of his American past. The doughnuts of my NZ childhood were oblong, yeasted, cream and jam-filled things, dusted with icing sugar. I had no visual, olfactory, or taste memory to draw on. It fell to L to find a recipe that he thought would most resemble his taste-buds hankerings. He settled on this one:

I diligently followed the recipe, until realising I had no corn starch. A walk up the road to the local organic store ensued.

On returning home, I realised that despite having a few small packets of baking soda left, there was no baking powder, having used it up a few days earlier to make cinnamon roll scones, to eat with the vanilla bean-infused clotted cream we’d made. (WHY, in the land of a zillion sheep and cows, do we NOT have clotted cream in New Zealand?? It’s like cream, but MORE. Caramelised, thick, delicious mounds of amplified CREAMINESS personified) I went out again, this time to the local Sainsbury, and rectified the issue. Which, later, resulted in the oddest post-orgasm question I’ve yet to be asked – “Baby, what’s the difference between Baking Powder and Baking Soda?”

Finally, on reading the recipe once more, I realised we had no sour cream. I substituted this for milk. Possibly not the best move in retrospect.

The verdict:


The flavour of the interior was gorgeous; the nutmeg subtle and beguiling.

The flavour of the crunchy outside wasn’t quite right; possibly a result of using a mix of sunflower seed oil, and a house-brand *vegetable oil* to deep-fry. For a repeat performance, I’m tempted to try kremelta, a flavourless vegetable shortening, arteries be damned.

The texture of the interior was disappointing. Somewhat dry. I’m inclined to think this was a result of substituting milk for the sour cream the recipe called for. Sour cream would have provided a richer dough with its higher fat content.

Finally, the recipe made so many doughnuts and doughnut holes, that the resulting mound made even this queer hedonist blush. L shared some of the abundance with a local store across the road. Next time I’ll cut the recipe by 2/3’s, until I have perfected the dangerously addictive beggars.

The quest for the perfect old-fashioned doughnut continues. Stay tuned for round two, taking place when my cholesterol levels are back to a semblance of their old selves…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s