A week until Valentine’s Day so plenty of time to get the hang of these beauties. Make them for your loved ones or make them for yourself, either way, they’re delicious!
If there’s one thing that my house full of girls seems to go nuts for, it’s heart-shaped food. Valentine’s Day gives us all an excuse to get making. Last year, I posted a very easy Valentine’s recipe for chocolate, macadamia nut and raspberry brownies (pictured above). If you want to make these yourself the link is here. The brownies are what I’d call a ‘level 1’ recipe. In my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, every recipe is graded either level 1, 2 or 3, with a ‘showstopper’ at the end of each chapter. This has meant that there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a novice baker or more experienced in the kitchen. It seems to have proven popular with people from the feedback they’ve given me and I really enjoying hearing that people are working their way up the levels in the book.
One of the level 3 recipes in my book is for pretzels. While making the dough is pretty straightforward, shaping them and keeping the shape while you plunge them into water before baking is a bit more fiddly, but they’re totally worth it. They’re one of my wife’s favourite recipes from B.I.Y. so this weekend I made us the heart-shaped pretzels pictured above. One thing I would advise though, is that if you’re making them for just you and one other person, you might want to reduce the quantities so instead of making (and eating) eight, you make four or six instead. They’re moreish, especially when they’re still warm and accompanied by a cold beer! If you’re feeling a bit sweet toothed, try drizzling melted milk chocolate over them too.
Just a quick reminder that it’s Pancake Day on Tuesday. I posted this easy recipe for pancakes last year. This year I’m going to make some salted caramel to have with them as I’ve been craving it ever since we made popcorn with the Joe & Seph sauces a few weeks ago. Get tossing!
*WARNING* This doughnut recipe is dangerously good and if you make these, beware, everyone around you will request them at every opportunity – birthdays, engagement parties, anniversaries, Tuesdays. You’ll have the job for life! There are two more doughnut recipes in my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself, and it’s only £9 on Amazon so if you give the book as a Valentine’s Day present, you might get the gift of doughnuts reciprocated one day! In terms of difficulty, I’d call this a ‘level 2’ recipe – they’re pretty straightforward so give them a whirl.
Raspberry and Custard Heart-Shaped Doughnuts
Ingredients (makes 20 – but you might want to lie and say you only made 12 in case the other 8 go ‘missing’)
For the doughnut dough
- 150ml whole milk
- 50g unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp quick yeast (I use Dove’s Farm)
- 1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
- 330g strong white bread flour, plus more to dust
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1.5 litres vegetable oil (to deep-fry)
For the custard filling
- 250ml whole milk
- 3 large egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 1/2 tbsp cornflour
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 250ml double cream
For the topping
- 1 small punnet raspberries (about 80g needed)
- 250g icing sugar
- sprinkles to decorate (I seem to have accumulated a ridiculous amount of sprinkles in my house from various cupcake decorating parties for my daughters. Of all the toppings, their favourite has been the pink glitter, which I got here)
- rolling pin
- heart-shaped cutter (I used the pink one from this set but you might have to shop around to find these in Valentine’s week)
- flavour injector (I use this one for my doughnuts so that I can ensure each doughnut has around the same amount of filling, but you could also use a piping bag with a long nozzle)
- piping bags (to fill the flavour injector or to use with a long nozzle. I use these ones)
- 2 x wire cooling racks
- deep-fat fryer (this is totally optional. I used to do all my doughnuts in a saucepan but bought a deep-fat fryer once I started getting so many requests to make them!)
- large baking tray
- hand or electric whisk
- various bowls and saucepans
- For the doughnut dough, place the 150ml milk in a small pan over a low heat to warm gently. Melt the 50g butter in a separate pan over a low heat. Mix the yeast with 1/2 tbsp of the sugar and about 50ml of the warm milk. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp of sugar. Pour in the yeast mix, the rest of the warmed milk, the melted butter and beaten egg. Mix into a dough, knead for 5-10 minutes, then put into a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for at least 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, make the custard. Pour the 250ml milk into a saucepan and set over a medium heat until hot and just about to simmer. Put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl and whisk with the caster sugar, vanilla paste and cornflour, using a handwhisk.
- Pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking as you do so. Pour all of this back into the saucepan and set over a low heat. Stir continuously, using a silicone spatula, until the custard thickens up, then quickly scrape into a clean bowl. Lay cling film on the surface of the custard (to stop a skin forming) and put in the fridge to cool.
- Lightly oil a baking tray. Take the risen dough and knead on a floured work surface for a couple of minutes, just to knock it back. Roll it out to about 1cm thick and cut out your heart shapes. Gently combine the offcuts and roll out again to cut more hearts. Put the doughnuts onto an oiled baking tray (see picture below), cover with cling film and leave to rise again for about 45 minutes.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan (or deep-fat fryer) until it reaches 160oC. If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, use a small piece of bread to see if it sizzles when dropped into the oil. After the second rise, cook the doughnuts in batches, 3-4 at a time, for 1 minute each side, turning with a slotted spoon, until golden. Remove to cooling racks.
- Returning to the custard, whip the double cream with a hand or electric whisk until it forms soft peaks. Take the now-cooled custard out of the fridge and fold in the whipped cream, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Load into a piping bag and if using a flavour injector, snip the end to make an opening of about 5mm in diameter and load the injector. Otherwise, make sure your long nozzle is in the piping bag.
- While the doughnuts are still warm, fill with custard by inserting the nozzle into the cleft of the heart (see picture below).
- To make the glaze, mush about 80g raspberries through a sieve into a bowl. Add the icing sugar and mix well until it thickens up. Pour the sprinkles onto a plate. Dip each doughnut into the icing, then into the sprinkles. Leave on the racks for an hour to set, if you can wait.
- If I’m giving food as presents, particularly with doughnuts I like to use windowed boxes (see picture below) which I get from here. Present these as a gift to your Valentine and make someone very happy indeed!