We all know donuts are the perfect snack for tea or coffee time. That fluffy yest squishy dough just begs to be served with a steaming hot beverage on the side.
London Fog Donuts
2 Earl Grey tea bags
2 cups buttermilk
2/3 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 tsp salt
4 – 5 cups flour
Oil for frying (about 1 liter)
4 cups whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 vanilla bean
4 bags Earl Grey tea
2 pkg instant vanilla pudding
Prepare donuts – Place the tea bags in the buttermilk.
Heat the buttermilk to steaming. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Let cool a few minutes – it should still be warm to touch but not hot. Remove tea bags and discard. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let sit 5 minutes to activate.
Whisk together melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Stir the yeast mixture into the egg mixture. Add enough flour to form a sticky yet solid dough. Knead for 2 minutes. You may need to add a pinch more flour if it is too sticky. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and set in a warm place to rise for an hour.
After dough has doubled, roll out dough on a floured work surface to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut out using a round biscuit/cookie cutter. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. (You can re-roll scraps once to get more circles.)
Cover with a tea towel and set somewhere warm to rise for 45 minutes.
After donuts have risen for about 30 minutes, start heating your oil over medium heat. It takes me about 15 minutes to get my oil to 350.
Fry donuts, 3 or 4 at a time, in the hot oil for about 1 minute on each side – they should be golden brown. You need a thermometer in the oil to make sure your oil stays at 350. If it is too low, your donuts will absorb too much oil and be greasy. If it is too high, they will be uncooked on the inside and burn on the outside.
Set on paper towel, or on wire racks with paper towel underneath, to drain any excess oil.
After all donuts are cooked, set aside to cool completely. When cool, take a serrated knife and carefully cut each donut in half horizontally.
Prepare filling – After you are done preparing the dough for it’s first rise, you should start your filling so it has time to steep. In a bowl, combine whipping cream, vanilla, vanilla bean (Note – half the bean vertically, scrape the seeds into the bowl, and then place the pod into the cream as well), and the contents of the 4 tea bags. Set this aside until the donuts are completely cool.
When donuts are ready, pour the cream through a strainer into another bowl. Discard the bean pod and the leftover tea bits. (Quite a few tea bits may go into the cream and that is fine. You just don’t want them too thick.)
Take half of the cream mixture and sprinkle in 1 pkg of the vanilla pudding mix. Beat with beaters until stiff enough to pipe. Pipe (or spoon) into the middle of the donuts. Repeat with the second half of the cream and the other pkg of vanilla pudding. I like to pipe a little star on top of each doughnut to fancy them up a little.
I mix the filling in two batches because I find that mixing it as one big batch can sometimes result in a funky texture to the filling. Dividing it in two ensures it will work every time!
As I mentioned above, the tea flavor is quite subtle but it makes for a fabulous treat. My recipe makes about 24 donuts but can easily be halved if you like.