Ring That Bell Recipe Diary
This was the one recipe I couldn’t wait to make. There is nothing I love more than Dint’s Doughnuts. They were the best part of working at the Trailing Yew. Being able to snag or doughnut or two while chambermaiding was the morning’s best breakfast. I would hook my fingers through the holes of two (or three) doughnuts while I balanced piles of folded towels and sheets on my shoulder. I barely remember Dint’s original creations. To say I grew up on Mary’s version is nothing short of the absolute truth. I can remember standing outside the cookhouse asking, “any extra doughnuts?” as a six year old with Greg as my backup. It was an island version of begging, but we had no shame. The doughnuts were that good. Even my dad would snag one or two before working on a generator or truck engine.
Observations: I like that the directions say to make the dough the night before. I think if it were a one-day process I would find it too time consuming. Making the dough ahead of time allows it to rest, leaving you the next day to fry yourself happy. First, the dough: I cheated with the buttermilk (or sour milk). I have a powder I mix with water to create buttermilk (thanks, Ruby). So. I didn’t have the real deal. I also didn’t have ground ginger. I am a big fan of fresh ginger but somehow I knew that wouldn’t work well in Dint’s Doughnuts. I used allspice instead.
Next, the frying: I have never made doughnuts before so I don’t have a deep fryer, I don’t have a fry thermometer, I don’t have a draining bin, and I don’t have sugar duster thingy. Instead I have a cast iron skillet, lots of papertowels, a not-so-sensitive smoke detector, and a plate full of powered sugar. Okay. You caught me. Mary’s recipe doesn’t call for powdered sugar, but for the last couple I just had to turn it up a notch. I’ll explain later.
Taste: This might surprise you but I didn’t want my doughnuts to have the exact same taste as the ones they serve at the Trailing Yew. It would be the equivilent of having Christmas every single day. I don’t want to spoil the magic of one the best parts of Monhegan. Here’s what surprised me, even without the real buttermilk and ground ginger these doughnuts were pretty close to the real deal. They were great! I loved the crunch of the exterior while the interior is soft and spicy.
Confession: I had to consult my King Arthur Flour cookbook for the cooking temperature of the oil. Mary simply says, “cut and fry in deep fat” and having never done it before I had no idea what the details were.