A number of American foods have shown up on the Moroccan fusion food scene, including these American-style donuts. Lighter and less dense than their French beignet counterparts, and more flavorful than traditional Moroccan sfenj, they're sure to delight family and guests at a Moroccan tea time or ftour.
For the best results, the dough must be sticky to the point of being a bit of a nuisance to knead. A heavy-duty mixer with dough hook simplifies the kneading. Once the dough has risen, it will be easier to work with.
The doughnuts can be dusted with granulated or powdered sugar before serving, garnished with thin chocolate icing or dipped in a light sugar glaze.
- For the Dough:
- 4 cups flour
- 1/3 cup (75 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
- 1/4 cup (56 grams) shortening or butter, room temperature
- 2 small to medium-sized eggs
- 1 1/4 cups warm milkvegetable oil for frying
- For Dusting with Sugars:
- granulated sugar and/or powdered sugar to dust
- For the Light Sugar Glaze:
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
- 3 cups (375 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) milk
- 1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla
- For the Thin Chocolate Icing:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 ounces (60 grams) semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons boiling water
Make the Dough
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Add the shortening (or butter), eggs and warm milk. Stir to combine, then knead by hand or with an electric mixer and dough hook until smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes. Note that the dough should be sticky to the touch (but supple enough to pull or scrape en masse from the sides of the bowl); add a little more milk or flour as necessary to achieve that consistency.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, turn over once, then cover with a towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in bulk, 1 hour or longer.
Punch down the dough and turn it over. Cover again with the towel and leave to rise a second time until almost doubled in bulk, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Shape and Cook the Donuts
Turn the dough out onto a generously-floured surface. Pat down or gently roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2-inch (1 1/4-cm) thick. Use a donut cutter to cut out the dough (or a large drinking glass and small bottle cap to cut out the centers); carefully transfer the donuts and their centers to a towel-lined tray. Cover the donuts loosely with a towel and leave to rise for about 30 minutes.
Scraps of dough should be gently pinched and pressed together into a mound (do not knead); cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes or longer before patting out and cutting out remaining donuts.
Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large pot or deep frying pan set over medium heat. Test the oil by dropping in a scrap of dough; the oil should bubble around the dough, but not be so hot as to brown the dough quickly.
Gently slide several donuts at a time into the hot oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once or twice, until golden. Transfer the cooked donuts to a strainer or rack to drain for 1 to 2 minutes, then to a paper-towel-lined tray. Repeat with the remaining donuts and balls.
Decorate the Donuts
Warm donuts may be rolled in granulated sugar or dusted with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cooled donuts may be dipped into glaze or thin chocolate icing.
To make the light sugar glaze: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla. Heat over medium-low heat until thin; add a little more milk to thin it further if you like.
Immerse a donut halfway into the warm glaze, then set the donut glaze-side-up on a rack to allow the glaze to cool and set.
To make the thin chocolate icing: Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat in a small saucepan or saute pan. Stir in the powdered sugar and boiling water; heat until thin enough for dipping, adding a little more boiling water if necessary.
Gently press the surface of a donut into the warm chocolate icing, then place the donut chocolate-side-up on a rack to cool and set.
Freezing the Donuts
Cooled donuts may be frozen after their glaze and icing have completely set. Place them in the freezer in a plastic storage box or freezer bag for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature.