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Thank St. Nick With Some Doughnuts This Year

December 07, 1989

For many anxious children, the tradition of leaving cookies and milk for jolly Old St. Nick on Christmas Eve is a gesture of appreciation--a way of expressing their thanks for the goodies he will bestow upon them later that night.

This year, help your little ones make a pleasant new surprise to leave for Santa: doughnuts. Choose from New Orleans-style powdered sugar-dusted doughnuts, Portuguese doughnuts or two Mexican favorites, sopapillas or churros.

Some of the recipes here make dozens of the favorite breakfast treats, so cover them tightly and save them for Christmas morning snacking.

BEIGNETS

(New Orleans Doughnuts)

3/4 cup warm water

1 package dry yeast

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/2 cup evaporated milk

3 1/2 cups flour, about

2 tablespoons shortening

Oil

Powdered sugar

Place warm water in large bowl. Stir in yeast to dissolve. Add granulated sugar, salt, egg and evaporated milk. Stir in 2 cups flour and beat until smooth. Beat in shortening, then remaining flour 1/3 cup at time. Beat until dough is smooth and firm. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface until 1/4-inch thick. Cut into 3x2-inch rectangles or diamonds. Heat oil to 360 degrees. Fry Beignets, 3 or 4 at a time, until puffed and lightly golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. (Turn Beignets over once or twice after they rise to surface when they begin to puff out.) Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in oven at 200 degrees. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and serve warm. Makes about 2 dozen.

SOPAPILLAS

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 cup cold water

Oil

Honey, optional

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender or two knives. Gradually add water to make stiff dough, adding more water if necessary. Knead dough on lightly floured board. Cover with cloth and let rest 15 minutes. Roll out dough on floured board until very thin. Cut into 2- or 3-inch circles or squares. Drop into deep hot oil and fry until browned, turning several times. Dough will puff as it fries. Serve with honey. Makes about 2 dozen.

FUNNEL CAKES

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

2 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups oil

Sifted powdered sugar

Combine eggs and milk in bowl. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to egg mixture and beat until smooth. Heat oil in deep skillet to 360 degrees, cover spout of funnel with finger and pour 1/4 cup batter into funnel. Remove finger to release batter into hot oil in spiral, starting in center and winding like coil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn carefully and cook 1 to 3 minutes longer. Drain on paper towels and dust with powdered sugar. Makes 6 to 8 cakes.

MALASADAS

(Portuguese Doughnuts)

1 package dry or cake yeast

Sugar

1/4 cup warm water

6 eggs

6 cups sifted flour

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

Oil

Sugar or warm honey, optional

Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Beat eggs until thick. Measure flour into large bowl. Make well in center, add eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, milk, salt and dissolved yeast and beat thoroughly until dough is soft and smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled. With circular motion following outer edges of bowl, turn dough with spoon and let rise again. Drop dough by teaspoons into deep oil heated to 375 degrees and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and shake in bag with sugar or serve warm with warm honey poured over doughnuts. Makes about 7 dozen.

FERNANDO'S CHURROS

1 cup water

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup flour

2 eggs

Dash salt

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Ground cinnamon

Oil

Granulated sugar

Place water in large saucepan. Add butter and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add flour immediately. Stir until well blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. Beat in salt, powdered sugar and generous dash cinnamon.

Heat oil for deep-frying in large skillet. Turn flour mixture into pastry bag fitted with large star tip. Squeeze into hot oil, forming churros 6 to 8 inches long. Fry until golden. Do not drain on paper towels. Place on plate sprinkled heavily with granulated sugar. Sprinkle churros with more sugar and additional cinnamon. Serve at once. Makes about 7 large churros.

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