Brendan Collins is executive chef of Birch, Larry’s, and the Corner Door in Los Angeles and just published a spectacular volume of so-called “dude food” that’s so much more than burgers, bacon and beer. Prepare for large volumes of meat, simple and delicious vegetable preparations and superb desserts, like these brioche doughnut holes with a booze-infused glaze — they’re worth the extra effort.
In my first couple of years out of culinary school, I worked as a commis at Café Royal on Piccadilly Circus, just as a Dunkin’ Donuts was going in a few doors down. I had never had a doughnut before — they are very much an American import — but I quickly learned that doughnuts are something of a perfect food when you are young, broke and working weird hours. I liked them so much that I set to work designing a version that would fit into a restaurant context. This recipe was on the menu at Waterloo & City for most of the time that restaurant was in business due to its tremendous appeal with our diners. It is seriously decadent. Brioche is buttery and rich to begin with, before you go dunking it in hot oil and finishing it with a buttery bourbon glaze.
- 2/3 cup cold whole milk
- 2 tablespoons dry active yeast
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 large cold eggs
- 5 large cold egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cups cold butter, cubed
Bourbon glaze (makes 2 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 vanilla bean
- 1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
- 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
For the glaze
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the brown sugar, vanilla bean, and corn syrup and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly.
Once the brown sugar is fully melted, reduce the mixture to a simmer and add the condensed milk, butter, and bourbon. Continue to simmer, stirring, until all the butter is incorporated and the glaze is smooth.
For the doughnuts
Place half of the milk in a small bowl and warm it in the microwave until lukewarm. Stir in the yeast and leave it for 3 to 4 minutes to dissolve.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugar, and salt well. Slowly add the eggs and yolks, then scrape the bowl down. Add the remaining (cold) milk and mix well. Add the yeast mixture.
With the mixer on medium-high speed, slowly add the butter a few cubes at a time, allowing it to become mostly incorporated before adding more.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and spray it with cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the prepared tray, cover it with clingfilm, and let it rest in the fridge overnight.
On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a floured biscuit cutter, cut the dough into rounds 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Let the doughnuts sit in a warm room until doubled in size, 8 to 10 minutes.
If you’ve got an electric fryer by chance, use it, because they’re way safer; if not, take a heavy pot like a Dutch oven and fill it two-thirds full with cooking oil. Position a thermometer in the oil and heat it nice and slow over medium heat until the temperature reads 350°F. Working a few at a time (don’t crowd the pot, gents), fry the doughnuts until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the fryer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel–lined baking tray. Toss each doughnut in bourbon glaze while still warm, or serve the glaze on the side. Eat immediately.