BEER DONUTS with Chestnut Ganache
It is now well and truly Autumn and one of the highlights of this great season for me is the chestnut. Either used in sweet or savoury dishes, or simply served roasted, they sum up the flavours of the colder months – rich, warm and nutty,
Donuts are one of those sinful desserts that are almost always good, whether served as churros or loukoumades (a staple of so many restaurants nowadays), or eaten warm from a paper bag, slightly crispy, slightly soggy, coated in far too much sugar and cinnamon. The addition of chestnut flour to my standard Beer Donut recipe adds a depth of sweet, nutty flavour to the dough and the chestnut ganache centre, well let’s just say it’s a wee bit sexy.
I’ve used Little Creatures Single Batch Marzen to make the batter as it displays a great malt character and subtle nuttiness. Being a lager it has good carbonation to lift the batter, ensuring the donuts are fluffy and light.
We experimented with these at Josie Bones the other day and they were so good we added them to the menu for the night. The staff probably would have preferred we didn’t, judging by the speed the testers and leftovers disappeared. In the words of our Italian chef de partie, “If you made one hundred, I would eat one hundred.”
I’ve been thinking about a few other combinations for this base recipe. How about Porter donuts filled with dark chocolat ganache, or Framboise donuts with raspberry jam filling? I think it’s time for some tasty experiments!
RECIPE Makes 12+
150 ml Little Creatures Marzen
100 ml milk
10 g fresh yeast
300 g bakers flour
100 g chestnut flour
50 g caster sugar
100 g butter (at room temperature)
2 free range eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
40 ml cream
200 g sweetened chestnut puree
120 g dark chocolate, chopped
Vegetable oil for frying
Combine the beer and milk, add the yeast and stir to combine.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flours and sugar. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the beer mix. Cover with cling film and rest in a warm place for 45 minutes to enable the yeast to activate.
Add the butter and eggs gradually and mix in a kitchen mixer with a dough hook fitted until you have an elastic, smooth batter.
Cover with cling film and let prove for at least another 30 minutes. The longer you leave it to prove, the lighter and fluffier the mixture will get.
For the cinnamon sugar, combine sugar and cinnamon and set aside until required.
For the ganache, combine the cream and chestnut puree and heat to a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and mix until the chocolate has melted and the mixture completely combined – add more chestnut puree to taste. Fill a piping bag with the mixture and set aside until required.
Pre-heat deep fryer to 180˚C.
Deep fry donuts in batches and drain on paper towel. We used a disposable piping bag and scissors to pipe the dough into the oil, but a well-oiled spoon or your hands will also work. They may end up a little misshapen, but they’ll still be delicious. When just cool enough to handle (use a kitchen towel to hold) fill with chestnut ganache, roll in the cinnamon sugar and devour.