Saturday, May 19, 2007

hurts... don't it?

last week the fine chefs here at vegan hedonism, inc. sacrificed a brilliant sunny day in brooklyn for the greater good by staying indoors to make chocolate-frosted donuts*!

these aren't your average vegan kamut-granola all-benefits-go- to-the-endangered- kangaroos-fund donuts either; these are a merciless perversion of the soft, bowel-rendingly nutritionless and utterly delectable deep-fried american classic, the so-called "dunkin'" donut. these little fuckers are so tasty, you might actually die of joy when you eat one. or, bring them to a party and you're 96.7% more likely to get laid.

for the egg replacer, you can use the Ener-G shit, or make your own with some tapioca flour. cane sugar is best for sweetener to give the donuts that delightful factory-made quality, but turbinado or maple crystals would work equally well.

1/4 oz. package active dry yeast
2 tbsp warm water
3/4 cup warm almond milk
2 1/2 tsp Earth Balance / coconut oil
equivalent of 1 egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose white flour
3 cups safflower oil

dissolve the yeast in the warm water.

in a food processor fitted with a dough blade, blend the almond milk, your margarine choice, sugar, salt, the dissolved yeast, and the egg substitute. add half the flour and blend again. add the rest of the flour and mix again. the dough should form a solid ball and clean the sides of the processor -- about 30 seconds. remove the dough from the processor and on a well-floured surface with well-floured hands, knead the dough until smooth. cover the dough in a bowl and set it in a warm, safe place to rise for 1 hour.

after an hour, the dough will have doubled in size. roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness on the work-surface. using any tin can, press the dough into circles. (make sure to punch a hole in the backside of the can, so the dough doesn't suction into the container.) use a bottle cap to punch out the "donut-holes." (save these -- they're a good test for the oil heat later; also, they're delicious and fun in their own right!)

with the donuts pressed into shape, set them on a lightly-oiled cookie sheet. cover them and set them in a warm place for about 45 minutes. once the dough has relaxed, they're ready.

in a deep pot**, heat the safflower oil over a medium flame. place a scrap of dough into the oil. the dough will sink at first, but will bounce back up when the oil reaches a suitable frying temperature -- about 350 degrees. (take a moment to admire the beautiful veinous texture the oil develops as it heats.)

when the oil is the correct heat, take the flame down to medium-low, just enough to sustain the temperature. (neither the oil nor the donuts should smoke! if they do, the oil has scalded and should be thrown out.) add another scrap of dough: it should bubble quite a bit as it expands in volume -- but not brown too quickly. you can always use the donut holes as a test.

add the donuts to the oil. turn them often, establishing a uniform, consistent golden-brown color. it will take no more than a couple of minutes for each to be ready. when they're done, place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

as soon as they cool, they're ready to eat; if you like, you can coat them in your typical glaze of water and confectioner's sugar, or add some vegan sprinkles -- or, as we did, top them with this sinful and easy-to-make chocolate frosting:

5 tbsp Earth Balance
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup hot water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

*instead of the more common spelling choice, "doughnut," i've opted in this article for the more colloquial and perhaps illiterate cognate, "donut," because i feel it best illustrates the simplicity, the sweetness, the populist spirit of these beauties.


the first time matthew attempted this recipe (in front of about nine spectators, no less, friends from good old angelica kitchen), he learned the hard way just how volatile hot oil is and how dangerous it is to use in the home kitchen, where many environmental contingencies are difficult to control. we're not talking about a little spatter or a minor oil burn -- rather, a huge inferno set off by an errant drop of water that got into the hot oil. hot oil, the maxim goes, abhors water. when oil, particularly large quantities of it, is heated to certain temperatures and is suddenly brought into company with even a little bit of water, it reacts violently. not just spattering a bit, but popping deafeningly, or, as matthew experienced, overflowing the edges of the pot.

it goes without saying that this is extremely dangerous. if the hot oil touches live flame -- as in matthew's case -- it will immediately ignite; if there is a lot of it, it will cascade rapidly into an uncontrollable blaze. matthew was fortunate not to have been injured, or evicted, because of this fire, but he did have to repaint his kitchen because of the rather dramatic soot and burn marks, and replace the decimated ventilation fan of his oven.

the folks here at vegan hedonism want to spread the word about the awesomeness of eating greasy, delicious, i-can't-believe-it's-vegan food, but they also want to make sure that no vegans have to be hospitalized due to this pursuit. therefore, they would like to conclude with a brief set of rules for deep frying:

(1) never use a high flame when a medium or low flame will do,
(2) always use a deep, deep pot,
(3) keep any water as far from the pot as possible, and, most importantly,
(4) never go topless.

afterwards, perhaps, but never while you're frying. TRUST US.

Vegan Hedonism. Matthew Trost and Carmichael Monaco

1 comment:

Matthew said...

i can't recall a day since that i haven't considered some permutation of the dough used in this recipe. the "long john"? the "cinnamon twist"? the "cream-filled"? the "blooming lotus"?

now, guess: which of those four is a tantric sex position?