I probably don’t have to convince you to make latkes. They’re fritters, so the process is quick and simple, and the payoff of crisp-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside fried potatoes and onions speaks for itself.
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Doughnuts—the plush, sweet side of Hanukkah—are admittedly a project, but such a fun one. The satisfaction of making them yourself is unbeatable, to say nothing of how much better a doughnut tastes when it’s freshly fried. Bite into one, and the soft, gently elastic dough yields in a way that feels satisfying even before you taste just how buttery it is; the still-warm preserves gush a bit; and the sugar crust crunches against the pillowy surface. These ephemeral qualities will delight you and ruin your taste for anything that’s more than a few hours out of the oil.
Senior Editor Annie Petito’s recipe is full of smart details and techniques, including:
- A careful balance of fat, sugar, and liquid that makes the dough soft, tender, and delicately chewy
- Overnight cold fermentation that produces complex flavor and makes the dough easy to roll out
- Rolling the dough to specific dimensions to guarantee a reliable yield
She also came up with really helpful tips for filling the doughnuts that maximize the amount of jelly (or other filling) you can add, and ensure that it will stay put. Here’s her method.
How to Fill Doughnuts
Cut a Pocket: Insert a paring knife into the doughnut until it almost reaches the opposite side. Swing it through the interior to clear space for the filling and help ensure that it distributes evenly.
Create a "Filling Station": Stand the doughnuts slit side up in a 13 by 9-inch baking pan. This allows you to hold the pastry bag with both hands, making it easier to angle the pastry tip and fill all 12 doughnuts quickly.
Go Deep: Insert the pastry tip ¾ inch into the opening. That way, you can get the filling deeper into the pocket before the filling starts to squeeze out.
Note: You'll need two large baking sheets and one wire rack for this recipe. You'll also need a 3-inch round cutter and a ¼-inch round pastry tip. For the best results, weigh the flour for the doughnuts. Heating the oil slowly will make it easier to control the temperature when frying. Use a Dutch oven that holds 6 quarts or more.
4½ cups (22½ ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup (3½ ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
1½ cups milk
1 large egg
1½ teaspoons table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and softened
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
Filling and Coating
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1½ cups seedless raspberry jam
1. FOR THE DOUGHNUTS: Stir flour, sugar, and yeast together in bowl of stand mixer. Add milk and egg and mix with rubber spatula until all ingredients are moistened. Fit stand mixer with dough hook and mix on medium-low speed until cohesive mass forms, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl if necessary. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes.
2. Add salt and mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. With mixer running, add butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix until butter is fully incorporated and dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 7 to 13 minutes longer, scraping down bowl halfway through mixing. Transfer dough to lightly greased large bowl, flip dough, and form into ball. Cover bowl with plastic. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Transfer to refrigerator and chill overnight (or up to 48 hours).
3. Adjust oven racks to lowest and middle positions. Place loaf pan on lower rack. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment and grease parchment. Transfer dough to lightly floured counter. Press into 8-inch square of even thickness, expelling as much air as possible. Roll dough into 10 by 13-inch rectangle, about ½ inch thick. Using 3-inch round cutter dipped in flour, cut 12 rounds. Transfer doughnuts to prepared sheet. Bring kettle or small saucepan of water to boil.
4. Pour 1 cup boiling water into loaf pan. Place sheet on upper rack, uncovered. Close oven and allow doughnuts to rise until dough increases in height by 50 percent and springs back very slowly when pressed with your knuckle, about 1 hour.
5. About 20 minutes before end of rising time, add oil to large Dutch oven until it measures about 1½ inches deep and heat over medium-low heat to 330 degrees. Set wire rack in second rimmed baking sheet and line with triple layer of paper towels. Using both your hands, gently place 4 risen doughnuts in oil. Cook until golden brown on undersides, 1½ to 2 minutes, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 340 degrees. Using spider skimmer, flip doughnuts and cook until second sides are browned, 1½ to 2 minutes. Transfer doughnuts to prepared rack. Return oil to 330 degrees and repeat with remaining doughnuts. Let cool completely, about 20 minutes.
6. FOR THE FILLING AND COATING: Place sugar in small bowl. Spoon jam into pastry bag or zipper-lock bag fitted with ¼-inch round pastry tip.
7. Working with 1 doughnut at a time, coat all sides of doughnut in sugar and return to rack. Insert paring knife through side of 1 doughnut until tip almost reaches opposite edge. Swing knife through doughnut, creating large pocket. Repeat with remaining doughnuts. Stand doughnuts slit side up in 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
8. To fill doughnuts, insert pastry tip ¾ inch into opening and squeeze gently until jam just starts to appear around opening, about 2 tablespoons jam per doughnut. Let doughnuts stand in pan for 10 minutes to allow jam to settle. Serve.