Doughnuts with strawberry sauce

When I was a teenager I  had a disastrous first experience making doughnuts. The dough was gluey, the oil not hot enough,  and the result so hideous they were inedible. It was years before I had the courage to try deep frying again, and only recently that I started experimenting with doughnuts. This recipe is really the holes not the doughnut, and they taste wonderful, especially when eaten warm, dipped in strawberry sauce. The dough uses baking powder rather than yeast, so the recipe is simplicity itself, and perfect for a morning or afternoon treat. Miss 16 said, with mouth full and sauce dripping from her chin, that they were like a jam doughnut from the bakery only much, much better. They would also be divine with a bitter chocolate sauce or thick lemon curd, for dipping.

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Makes about 24 small doughnuts

50 g butter
125 ml milk
1.5 litres sunflower oil
250 g plain flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
100 g caster sugar
200 g strawberries
1 tablespoon icing sugar
zest of ½ orange or tangelo

Melt the butter, milk and 2 tablespoons of the sunflower oil in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and 50 g sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the middle, then tip in the warm milk mixture. Stir the mixture with a knife until it forms a soft, sticky dough.

Heat the rest of the oil in a medium-sized deep saucepan pan until it reaches 180 C. The most useful kitchen tool I have ever bought, aside from a really good knife, is a kitchen thermometer. It’s the best way to ensure that the cooking temperature is correct and that the result is not soggy, oil soaked lumps, or brown and crisp but raw in the middle doughnuts.  But if you don’t have a thermometer, here are alternative ways to check the temperature of the oil.

Roll the dough into small balls about the size of a walnut in its shell.  Use a slotted spoon to carefully lower batches of six balls into the oil. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden, turning occasionally. Place the cooked doughnuts onto a double layer of paper towel to drain. Cool for a few minutes, then roll gently in the remaining sugar until finely coated.

To make the strawberry sauce place the strawberries, icing sugar and the zest of the orange or tangelo into a small bowl, then blend together until it forms a slightly chunky sauce.  Serve the warm doughnuts with the strawberry sauce for dipping and slurping and spooning over. The diet starts tomorrow!

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