Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meyer Lemon Doughnuts

This is the time of year when I really wish I lived in Southern California. Not because of the rain in Seattle, but because it's Meyer Lemon Season in Southern California. Meyer Lemon's are so pretty and smooth,a beautiful blend of orange and yellow in color.  Not the bright knobby yellow of a regular lemon,much more subtle. The Meyer Lemon is a citrus fruit native to China and thought to be a cross between a true lemon and either a mandarin or common orange.  It was introduced to the United States in 1908 .  Alice Waters of Chez Panisse made it very popular during the California Cuisine food revolution and Martha Stewart's use of it made it even more popular.  Personally, I don't care who brought it to the U.S. or who is responsible for making it so popular . I'm just glad it's here and available.  It's like waiting for the first flat of strawberries of the season. When I saw the overflowing basket of Meyer Lemons at my favorite market I couldn't pass them by.  By the time I got home with them I had a hundred ideas of how might use them. But when I saw the beautiful photos of the Meyer Lemon Doughnuts by Flour Child over at Pinterest I knew I had to make them.  These are truly addictive, so don't say I didn't warn you.

Meyer Lemon Doughnuts
Adapted from Gourmet, December 1999 & December 2006
Thanks to Flour Child for inspiring me to try these

For the doughnuts:
1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar + 3/4 cup to roll the finished doughnuts in
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
Mix together flour, milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture in mixer at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more.
Scrape dough into a ball in the center of the bowl, then sprinkle lightly with flour to keep a crust from forming. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Or you could let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out as many rounds as possible with a small round cookie cutter ,I used 2 inch diameter one for the smaller ones and a 3 inch diameter for the larger ones. Transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not re roll scraps ,you can , but they will be your testers and may be slightly tough.
Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. Fry doughnuts, 3-4 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 350°F between batches.) Let cool.

For the lemon curd:
An adaptation of the recipe I used for my Tarte au Citron
2 large whole eggs+1 egg yolk
1/2 cup very fine or superfine sugar
1/2 cup juice from Meyer Lemons (will take about 5 lemons)
2 teaspoons of Meyer Lemon Zest
1 stick of unsalted butter-room temperature and cut into 1 inch pieces
Small pinch of sea salt

In a double boiler over medium heat whisk everything but the butter together. Whisk this constantly ,don't stop or you will end up with curdled or scrambled eggs instead of lemon curd. Continue whisking 5-10 minutes,until the mixture starts to bubble and holds it shape when the back of a wooden spoon is coated.(If using a thermometer it should reach 160 degrees F).   If you can draw a line through the mixture coating the back of the spoon and that line stays clear then it's ready. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 3 minutes,then whisk in the butter until all of the butter is melted. Place in a bowl,cover with plastic wrap directly onto the curd and place in refrigerator until mixture cools and firms ,approximately 2-3 hours.

Once the doughnuts are completely cool fill with  the lemon curd. I followed the tip from Flour Child and I used a plastic squeeze bottles with a long tip. I used a wooden chopstick to poke a hole in the side of the doughnut then filled it with the squeeze bottle. When the doughnuts are filled, roll them liberally in granulated sugar. 

Since Meyer Lemon Season only comes once a year, I bought enough to try some other recipes.  Check back in with me, I'm thinking of Meyer Lemon Cupcakes made with Limoncello !  Or maybe Meyer Lemon gelato with Dorie Greenspan's Meyer Lemon Sables au Citron !  I think I will have doughnut while I make my decision. Bon Appetit !


Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

I have never tasted a Meyer lemon, and I keep reading recipes by so many bloggers with them...Should I go to China or the USA? ;D
Lovely doughnuts! I will try it with Argentinean lemons...

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Come to Seattle and we can make a road trip to Southern California ! If I could I would ship some to you,I'm sure they would be just as good with Argentinean lemons too.