We watched a film, About Time a few months back (it’s not new, we’re just a bit slow on the uptake) and in the film the main character goes to a pitch black restaurant and ends up meeting a girl (you can probably imagine the rest). The restaurant in the film was Dans Le Noir in Clerkenwell and we thought it looked pretty cool, so we booked in for our anniversary on the Friday just gone; though it’s probably not the most romantic idea, going for a meal where it’s pitch black so you can’t see each other, but still, it was really enjoyable. They seat you at tables right next to other people, so we were sat next to 2 people who we spent most of the meal chatting to – not something that would happen in the light and it made the whole experience quite refreshing compared to normal London life. The food was great too and they seemed to handle my dietary restrictions with absolutely no problem. I did think a dairy, egg and gluten free dessert might be a step too far though so we walked over to Yorica for ice cream after rather than going for a 3 course.
I wanted to do some baking this weekend but in the end the only free time I had was this morning; so I decided to work on doughnuts as I wasn’t far off a good recipe. Aquafaba is the latest thing in egg replacement, so used that in last week’s doughnuts and was happy that it worked well enough. Having read about raising agents a bit, I realised that bicarbonate of soda needs something acidic to make it work properly, so since I’d decided to make lemon doughnuts, I went with that as a raising agent as it seemed like it’d be at its most effective. I’d also seen variations in butter usage – either melted or solid, so I decided to do a batch of each to see if it made a difference; one batch in the way you’d do a cake – cream butter and sugar, mix in liquid, fold in flour etc. and then the other with melted butter, so mix that into the other liquids then fold that into the dry ingredients.
I adapted my quantities to fill a 6-hole doughnut pans each time, so it can be scaled up, but doesn’t need to be scaled down. The first batch was the creamed version – they turned out well, with a good rise and an even surface; they’re slightly more chewy than I remember yeasty-gluteny doughnuts being, but it isn’t at all unpleasant.
The second batch was also slightly chewy and really looked almost identical to the first. The only difference I could really see was when I cut into them and the air bubbles looked slightly larger in the melted butter version (see pics below). The first batch also tasted slightly more lemony than the second.
I made a lemon glaze from icing sugar and lemon juice to see if a glaze would help the doughnuts keep slightly better than the jam-sugar version I made last time, which was absorbed into the doughnut over night.
Here is the recipe for batch 1 – the creamed mix version as we thought it was marginally better, though there wasn’t a lot in it. These doughnuts start to ‘leak’ a bit after about 10 hours, which is why the recipe below is for a batch of 6, very easily eaten in a sitting!
Makes: 6 large doughnuts
Eat on the day of making
EDIT: I have read a few sites that recommend freezing unglazed doughnuts, then pinging them in the microwave for 10 seconds or so when you want to eat them, then glazing.
35g vegan butter (I used stork block)
50g caster sugar
150g self-raising gluten-free flour (I used Dove’s Farm)
2g bicarbonate soda (like the tip of a teaspoon)
Pinch of salt
25ml aquafaba (water from can of chickpeas)
100ml dairy-free milk (I used unsweetened soya)
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of half a lemon
75g icing sugar
4 tsp lemon juice (a half lemon should do)
Zest of half a lemon for decoration
Heat the oven to 220c, 200c fan (I made these in a fan oven)
- In a medium sized bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (I used an electric whisk).
- Slowly whisk in the aquafaba, milk and lemon juice (slowly so it doesn’t splash everywhere, rather than because anything bad might happen to the mix).
- Sieve in the flour, bicarb and salt and whisk to combine (you can fold in if you’d prefer, but try not to mix more than necessary).
- Stir in the lemon zest.
- The batter should now almost resemble a cake batter.
- Spoon into the doughnut pan (I don’t bother greasing mine, but it’s new and non-stick, so grease yours if temperamental), fill each hole to about 2/3s full and I always wipe down the metal bit in the centre of each hole so the doughnut doesn’t get stuck around the hole when I try and flip them out later.
- Bake for 9 minutes – I give them a bit of a poke with my finger to make sure they’re firm, but I don’t both poking a knife in as I haven’t had a problem with under-cooking as of yet.
- When baked, leave in the pan for a couple of minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- While they’re cooling, mix the icing sugar and lemon juice together in a small bowl.
- I used a knife and just smeared on the icing. Sprinkle the zest on top to decorate.
- Eat ASAP.