Like most of us, Alessandro loves donuts (and admittedly I am rather partial to them as well – in fact, when I was exercising a hell of a lot in university I would sometimes treat myself to one of those gigantic donuts covered in thick icing for breakfast. Not something I would want to tell my dentist or nutritionist about but dang did I enjoy those donuts!). While I like trying to recreate sweet treats at home (in an attempt to make them somewhat healthier if possible and exclude those scary E-numbers), I have always shied away from making my own donuts because of the deep-frying involved (probably a smart choice given I am clumsy enough to have burned myself with porridge and fallen off a treadmill). But then I started seeing more and more recipes for baked donuts and I started thinking that maybe the way to donut success at home was to bake them.
But, some of the recipes I came across produced donuts that looked either very cakey or, in the case of recipes based on light enriched yeasted doughs, dry, neither of which I find appealing for a donut. It was when I was baking financiers that it occurred to me that the texture I was after might be easiest to achieve with a typical financier batter – a simple light batter containing no more than egg whites, sugar, flour and butter.
I did my first trial run this weekend by making some baked wholemeal blueberry donuts and they were so good that Alessandro and I finished the entire batch of 8 donuts between the two of us for breakfast. Admittedly they were very small (only about 5cm in diameter), but still, a donut is a donut.
The taste was wonderful – rich and flavourful from the butter and the muscovado sugar but not too sweet at all (I had cut down the original amount of sugar given the extra sugar-coating on the outside), there was a nice crunch from the sugar-coating sticking to the donuts thanks to a thin wash of melted butter all over the still warm donuts and the fresh blueberries which had cooked down into little jam-like puddles provided a nice little sharp contrast. But the real success was the texture – the donuts were perfectly light and airy while also deliciously moist.
These baked donuts are perfect fresh out of the oven and are so easy and quick to whip up they would be perfect to whip up for last-minute brunch guests.
Baked Wholemeal Blueberry Donuts
Ingredients, makes 8 mini donuts or 4 regular size donuts
2 egg whites
40g muscovado sugar
pinch of salt
50g wholemeal flour
60g butter, melted
80g fresh blueberries
10g butter, melted
extra sugar for coating (ca. 4-5 tablespoons)
1. Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
2. Whisk the egg whites together with the muscovado sugar and the pinch of salt until stiff and glossy.
3. Add the flour, melted butter and blueberries to the bowl containing the beaten egg whites and carefully fold the flour, butter and berries into the egg white mixture being careful not to deflate it.
4. Fill a pastry bag with batter and carefully pipe into your donut mould. Smooth the top of each mould with the back of a wet spoon (to stop the batter of sticking to the spoon).
5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the tops of the donuts are golden-brown in colour and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the donuts comes out clean.
6. Let donuts cool in the mould for a couple of minutes and then carefully invert them onto a serving plate.
7. Lastly, brush each donut all around with some of the extra melted butter and then carefully coat them with the extra sugar.
Note: I baked these in a silicone baba mould (I figured I could not justify buying a mould just to make donuts, so thought I might get more use out of a baba mould) and would definitely recommend using a silicone mould here as it makes it so much easier to remove the rather fragile donuts while they are still warm so you can brush them with butter and coat them with sugar. If you use a metal mould, make sure to grease it really well and you might want to wait 5-10 minutes before removing the donuts from the mould after baking.